On Friday, May 18, Sands Cares partnered with Green Our Planet as they accomplished the largest school garden build in the nation, completing 12 gardens across the Las Vegas valley with the support of local sports teams and businesses. More than 600 volunteers came together and donated over 1,800 volunteer hours to complete the gardens in a single morning. Following the garden builds, Green Our Planet hosted the Giant Student Farmers Market at Bank of Nevada, which featured over 400 students from 45 Clark County elementary, middle and high schools selling their school garden-grown produce and crafts. The students sold nearly $9,000 in produce. All proceeds will be used by the schools to maintain and expand their current gardens.
“The gardens create a sense of ownership for the children as well as a sense of pride as they are able to nurture a living thing from the ground up,” Stephanie Stanton, director of Sands Cares operations for The Venetian and The Palazzo, said. “In addition, it encourages healthy habits which is key to sustaining success in the educational journey. We believe in providing access to as many different types of learning for students as possible. Green Our Planet, through the gardens, teaches children science, math, business building, nutrition and gardening skills that they can then take with them.”
Founded in 2013, Green Our Planet is a nonprofit conservation organization whose mission is to use outdoor garden classrooms as a powerful teaching tool to increase student test scores in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math), student nutrition and increase community engagement so that schools and local communities become more sustainable. The 12 new gardens will save at least 2.25 million gallons of water every year by removing 45,000 square feet of grass. More than 8,500 students will be impacted by the gardens, creating a new learning environment for all grade levels. Green Our Planet has helped fund and build nearly 150 outdoor garden classrooms in the Clark County School District, creating the largest school garden program in the United States. They currently works with more than 3,000 teachers and impact more than 80,000 students.
“We fully support the work that Green Our Planet is undertaking with their Outdoor Garden Classroom Program as we recognize it has an enormous, positive impact at our local schools,” Anna Schmid, vice president of administration and events optimization, said. “We are lucky to have one of the largest school garden programs in the nation. These gardens provide an ideal classroom for hands-on, experiential learning for students. As the mother of two kids, I understand how important STEM education is to the future of our students. Teachers use the garden for science, math, social studies and art classes. Students learn how to grow vegetables and fruit. They learn how to compost and take care of the garden and environment. And these gardens also impact the health and well-being of students and their parents in our community. Students learn about where their food comes from and taste vegetables and fruit they've never eaten before. From building the new gardens to running a farmers market, this program goes beyond learning in the classroom.”
With over 60 Sands Cares volunteers in attendance at the event, Las Vegas Sands, through its corporate giving program, Sands Cares, continues to encourage its Team Members to contribute substantially to their communities, making them better places to live as well as remaining committed to reducing our impact on the planet through our Sands ECO360 global sustainability program. Other notable volunteers at the Great Garden Build included New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, UFC hall of famer Forrest Griffin, and players from the Las Vegas Aces.