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USD 495 Pumpkin Patch grant awarded
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LARNED — USD 495 Fort Larned schools, in collaboration with the Larned Pride committee, were awarded a $3,500 grant from the Golden Belt Foundation to help provide educational, field trip, and expansion opportunities out at Camp Pawnee. Camp Pawnee is four  miles west of Larned on 8th Street from downtown Larned.
The grant will provide for the purchase of a water drip line, melon seeds, and some maintenance spraying to plant approximately two acres of ground which hopes to provide pumpkins and melons. Kansas Department of Corrections work crews will help to establish and do some of the maintenance on the patch to fully utilize all of the local resources.
The USD 495 students currently utilize the Sandstone Pumpkin Patch, located on West 2nd Street in Larned, operated by Jerry and Margaret Larson and Lois Eye, along with other volunteers, which raises money for the Pawnee County Humane Society.
USD 495 has also traveled to St. John with a field trip to purchase pumpkins for the students after Sandstone’s resources were exhausted.
“Our grant provides the opportunity to make sure any grade that takes a pumpkin patch trip each fall in USD 495 can purchase a pumpkin through our trips to the Sandstone Pumpkin Patch and keep our money in Larned,” said Jennifer Anderson, USD 495 assistant superintendent. “With the use of county lands, other county schools will also be invited to take part in this venture.”
Anderson emphasized that the pumpkin patch will not be an open, for-profit, public pumpkin patch.
“We hope to be able to subsidize the Sandstone Pumpkin Patch with more pumpkins, if needed, so that all of our students have the unique opportunity to choose their own pumpkin at Sandstone,” she said. “We want the students to have fun in the great atmosphere, while keeping our funds local. This first year will be a learning experience with many great volunteers, such as John Haas and David Spare,.”
When the Sandstone Pumpkin Patch has sold all of its pumpkins in the fall, the “extra pumpkins” from the Camp Pawnee Patch will be taken to the Pride Larned Community Market and possibly used for a pumpkin painting night and/or sold. The melons from the patch might also be utilized for snacks at the USD 495 schools.
 “We are on a big learning curve, but Larned Pride has done a great deal to improve the assets in Larned, and now in Pawnee County,” Anderson said. “We should all take responsibility in taking care of these great projects, like the Splash Pad, so everyone can win.”
For information on Camp Pawnee visit,
For information on USD 495 schools visit,
For information on the Pawnee County Humane Society visit,