If you stroll through our school gardens on any given Monday afternoon, you are likely to find Marcia Jones volunteering alongside our lead environmental educator, Eliza Hudson. As a retired educator, Marcia looks forward to her weekly gardening class with our Primary students, and with her 31 years of experience as a kindergarten teacher in Guilford County, we look forward to all she has to offer the children and the school. In a recent interview, Marcia shared with us how much she loves teaching young children the value of tending the earth, especially her four grandchildren including Foster, who is enrolled in our Primary program.

In addition to helping in our gardens on a weekly basis, Marcia supports several other community gardening projects in and around the Greensboro area. She uses her green thumb to tend the gardens at the Wentworth Museum in Rockingham County, the Guilford College Community Garden and Jones Elementary School. “Gardening helps me relax,” Marcia shared, "and its so nice to be able to see the product of all your effort. I think that’s especially true for young children." Many years ago, she started a gardening program with her kindergarten students at Sedgefield Elementary School. “The children loved it. We grew a wide variety of vegetables from seed, including squash, radishes, potatoes, peas, and pumpkins. The children especially liked the pumpkins because they would grow all summer and could be harvested in the fall,” she shared.

With her family’s roots in this area of North Carolina, Marcia is deeply connected to the land, and her knowledge of farming is much greater than what her humble demeanor might initially suggest. She grew up working on her family's farm in Rockingham County just north of Greensboro and she has many fond memories of driving the tractor out in the fields. “My sister and I were working on the family farm up until two years ago. Over the years, we’ve grown tobacco, corn, wheat, soybeans and apples.” Even with those years of experience in her back pocket, Marcia continues to express her modesty about having a green thumb and loves learning new gardening techniques from those around her. “Lately, I’ve been learning more about which herbs to plant around my vegetable garden to deter deer and other wild animals,” she told us.

Needless to say, Marcia's time and talent, both as an avid gardener and an experienced educator, have been a tremendous gift for our school this year.  We are grateful for all that she has done to enrich our environmental education program and to support our students and faculty with her skills and expertise.  When asked about the best part about working with Marcia this year, Eliza Hudson shared these words of appreciation:
"Working with Marcia has been one of the highlights of the year for me and the Primary children in the Encore program at Greensboro Montessori School. It is rare to meet life-long educators who still have energy to volunteer with youth these days, yet Marcia is truly one such educator. A teacher to her core, I gain significant insight about children, gardening, and teaching from her every time we work together. Thank you Marcia!"