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December 5, 2013

Green thumbs for everyone

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Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier)
Children at the School Age Program plant seeds at the center at Davis-Monthan, Nov. 22. The Desert Lightning 1st Six is planning to build a greenhouse for the science room that will teach kids the process of growing different types of seeds.

The Desert Lightning Team 1st Six raised funds for a greenhouse to be built at the School Age Program here.

“The DLT 1st Six is an organization on base that supports community outreach in the D-M area by providing assistance that would benefit the base, the Department of Defense members and their families,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Paradise, 372nd Training Squadron Detachment 11, A-10 weapons instructor.

The School Age Program is the on-base option for before or after-school care for dependent children. The facility houses several theme-based rooms to include a homework/study room, a drama room, and a science room.

“A walk-in greenhouse would be great,” said Paula Ganan, School Age Program Assistant, “We have a plant area in the corner but it’s small and limits what we can learn. We can plant a lot of flowers that are lacking here in Arizona.”

Paradise was talking to Ganan when she mentioned that it was something she wanted for the kids but the school could not afford it.

“I thought this would be an excellent idea to raise money for and provide them a greenhouse,” said Paradise, vice president for the DLT 1st Six. “It is something that can use for years and years to come in the discovery and science program.”

With Paradise having a 5-year-old son of his own, he felt this would be a great learning experience.

“In this day and age, everyone goes to the grocery store,” Paradise said. “That is where they think the food comes from. A lot of kids don’t see or understand that food comes from trees and animals until they get older. The kids will plant, grow and learn how the process works.”

The 10×12 foot greenhouse will be built by the DLT 1st Six and volunteers. The greenhouse will have an aluminum frame and hard, plastic instead of glass to prevent accidental breakage.

“The biggest problem for plants in this area is the climate but with the greenhouse and a mist system, that won’t be an issue” Ganan said.

Knowing that the greenhouse will be built the children are starting to get involved in the process.

“The children and I spent a whole morning talking about what we wanted to plant,” Ganan said. “On one side we want to plant flowers, in the middle an herb garden and on the other side fruits and veggies.”

All of the funds raised for the greenhouse came from a raffle ticket fundraiser held by the DLT 1st six during November. All of the money, more than $1,400, will provide the building, plants, a water system and a solar power system.

With the assistance of volunteers, the completion date for the greenhouse is slated for December 13.




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(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Betty R. Chevalier)

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