Archive for the “School Gardens” Category
A Cornell University study published in a special issue of Developmental Psychology (Vol. 49:3) reveals that “children are natural scientists” who can “gather and assess evidence from the world around them.”
The study, lead by Tamar Kushnir, the Evalyn Edwards Milman Assistant Professor of Child Development and the director of the Cornell College of Human Ecology’s Early Childhood Cognition Laboratory, shows that preschooler’s can “infer what a person might know from watching what they do…and they can then use this [information] to choose whom to learn from.”
Researchers found that three to four-year olds’ understanding of cause and effect is influenced by information from other people, and that they can discern good sources of information from bad. Three to four-year olds, the study finds, are not entirely credulous.
Want to teach and cultivate the next generation of “natural scientists?” Cornell Garden-Based Learning offers a variety of multi-disciplinary activities which target knowledge and skill-building in the garden. Seed to Salad emphasizes decision-making and a multi-disciplinary approach while youth grow salad gardens. Dig Art! Cultivating Creativity in the Garden integrates gardening with the arts and ecological literacy. Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners (VVfG) and Vegetable Varieties Investigation (VVi) utilizes a citizen science approach to teach middle and high school aged youth about preserving biodiversity and connecting with the community.
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In the following TED talk, Pam Warhurst, Chair of the Board of the Forestry Commission in Great Britain, discusses the creation of Incredible Edible. Incredible Edible is a world-wide initiative Warhurst co-founded which is dedicated to growing food locally and which has also helped to implement food and garden education programs in schools and communities.
The local food movement, Warhurst states, “is a movement for everyone…if you eat, you’re in.” The language of food, Warhurst states, cuts across age, income, and culture, and “we are all part of the solution.”
Warhust urges communities to “make food visible” and to “encourage our schools to take [food issues] seriously.” “If we want to inspire the farmers of tomorrow,” Warhurst states, “let us say to every school: create a sense of purpose around the importance of the environment, local food, and soils. Put that at the heart of your school culture and you will create a different generation.”
Ready to get involved in the local food movement? Learn about specific vegetables and how to grow them with our Growing Guides. Check out our Seed to Salad project which engages young people in growing salad gardens of their own. Get involved with Youth Grow, a leadership program that trains youth to become actively involved in learning about and transforming their local food systems. Read about Discovering our Food System, an experiential learning program about how food gets from farm to table and how we, as eaters, are part of the process.
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Take advantage of free webinars hosted by the USDA People’s Garden. Two more to happen this week, one with CGBL’s Liz Falk presenting. Check it out!
Composting and Compost Use – How, Why and Where - 12/12/2012 12 Noon – 1:00 pm EST
Instructor: Al Rattie – Director, Market Development – US Composting Council
Cary Oshins – Director, Education & Outreach – US Composting Council
Wanna make your own compost? You can produce high quality compost on a small-scale, but it’s important to use quality control standards from start to finish. Learn how you can get started, what to do with what you produce, and the many benefits and uses of compost.
Best Practices in Starting and Sustaining a School Garden - 12/13/2012 12 Noon – 1:00 pm EST
Instructor: Liz Falk – Professional Development Educator, Cornell Garden-Based Learning
Ithaca, New York
We know that garden-based learning increases a child’s likelihood to eat fresh vegetables, can increase a child’s attention span, and foster positive relationships across ages. Learn best practices on how to incorporate gardens into schools, to make garden projects successful and sustainable, and to encourage participation from others in your community.
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This just in… Check out this Eco-Schools program from the National Wildlife Federation. The Eco-Schools program strives to model environmentally sound practices, provide support for greening the curriculum and enhance science and academic achievement. Additionally, it works to foster a greater sense of environmental stewardship among youth. Eco-Schools is currently being implemented in more than 50 countries around the world.
Through school-based action teams of students, administrators, educators and community volunteers, Eco-Schools combines effective “green” management of the school grounds, facilities and the curriculum.
Once a school has registered and implemented the seven steps, it can apply for an Eco-Schools award. There are three levels of the award system. The first two levels are the Bronze and Silver awards which are self-assessed. The top level is the Green Flag award, which must be assessed by an Eco-Schools USA assessor and renewed every two years. A school is considered to be a permanent Eco-School once it has gained its fourth Green Flag.
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Thanks for Community Works Journal for this article:
Can You Grow a Pizza? Big Questions in the Garden
By HEIDI REVELO
“Miss Heidi, can you grow a pizza?” asked 13-year-old Jenifer at the first Children’s Garden in Lexington, Nebraska. The sign stapled to the side of the garden box said “Pizza Garden” which was next to “Peter Rabbit Garden,” “Salsa Garden” and “Vegetable Tray Garden.” The sun was climbing in the sky and the middle school enrichment summer school students were sweaty although it was only 9:15 a.m. A dozen students watered the 30+ garden boxes and vining plants area, planted tomato plants and pulled up weeds.
“Well….no,” Miss Heidi answered wanting to laugh and smack the heel of her hand on her forehead to say, “What kind of question is that!” Instead she asked Jenifer a question. “Tell me, what’s in a pizza?” Now Jenifer was joined by two more girls. They hesitated and then one had an answer. “Sauce!”
Read the entire article>>
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It’s not too late to start a cover crop beneath veggies that are nearing harvest or have already passed it! The earlier you start your cover crop, the more it will grow and add to the quality and fertility of your soil, but many of you still have a bit of time if you act fast! Use this two-page fact-sheet our friends at the Garden Ecology Project made to select a good cover crop for your urban garden, and learn how and when to plant it.
Plus: Cover crops are easy to plant with youth, as they aren’t too particular – simply broadcast the seeds on bare soil, ensure they get watered or rained on and watch them grow. At this time of year if you’re cover cropping a small space it could help to cover the broadcasted seeds with a sheet or plastic to give them a little more heat on the cold Autumn nights until they generate and grow a little. Have fun!
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The next Take Root! Training for Garden Educators is taking place this Saturday at 12 noon at the Steinway Library in Queens. Topics to include Intro to Permaculture, Season Extension and Capacity Building. A few spots still left. More info visit http://www.queenslibrary.org/event/take-roots-garden-educator-training & www.gardening.cornell.edu/takeroot.
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It can be a challenge to meaningfully integrate gardening and learning. We really like the way Angela McGregor Hedstrom uses essential questions to expand on the gardening experience, and organize the big ideas, particularly with our youngest audiences.
Read this succinct and well-written article, and get started soon!
Angela McGregor Hedstrom taught at the Dryden Elementary School and Happy Way Childcare Center, Dryden, NY, while working with Cornell Garden-Based Learning.
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Recall in our Garden-Based Learning Newsletter, we solicited success stories from to feature in our newsletter and blog. We are excited to share this Success Story with you. The Geneva Community Center’s Boys & Girls Club is currently working on an after-school gardening project every Wednesday for children ages 10-14. Eight expert gardeners have volunteered to work on a rotating basis with children on a particular aspect of gardening. Some of the expert volunteers include community members and Master Gardeners of the New York State Volunteer Program under the direction of Russ Welser at Ontario County Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The team of gardeners will be growing carrots, lettuce, beets, raspberries, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, summer squash, garlic, chard, radishes, potatoes, and mustard. Visit gardening.cornell.edu for vegetable growing guides. Here are some growing guide examples for the vegetables featured at the Boys & Girls Club garden: Carrots Beets Cucumbers
The expert gardeners will also engage the children in fun, garden-related activities such as learning about soils, how to prepare a planter for container gardening, how to protect a garden from deer, and the use of cover crops for weed prevention. Resources on building soil, cover crops and keeping deer away can be found on our site too.
This gardening project is supported by the USDA volunteers based at the Geneva Experiment Station, the faculty and staff from Hobart & William Smith Colleges, as well as board members and staff of the Boys & Girls Club. A recent donation of organic soil was made by John Hicks.
The project aims to fulfill the youth development strategy of The Boys & Girls Club:
-A Sense of Competence: there is something boys and girls can do and do well
-A Sense of Usefulness: the opportunity to do something of value for other people
-A Sense of Belonging: a setting where an individual knows he or she has a place where he or she “fits” and is accepted
-A Sense of Power of Influence: a chance to be heard and to influence decisions
The mission of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva is to empower all young people in our community to reach their full potential. Located at 160 Carter Road, the Geneva Community Center is just a short ways away from the Geneva high and middle schools. The Geneva Community Center is a gathering point for people of all ages to engage in fun and enriching activities in a safe and welcoming environment. It is the Center’s mission to build and support collaborations between organizations, services, neighborhoods, and age groups to create long-lasting relationships.
Visit their webpage at http://www.genevacommunitycenter.org/index.html.
If you would like your garden-related program success story to be posted here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a two to three paragraph description that includes the garden project’s mission or goals, a description of the success story and its impacts, and attach two to three JPG photos of the project (with rights released). Be sure to include your address, phone number, email, and project website (if applicable). First five submissions will receive a complimentary copy of our Discovering Our Food System curriculum.
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In the CGBL Spring Newsletter we solicited garden-based learning success stories to feature in the quarterly newsletter and blog. We are excited to share this first garden story with you from the Dewitt Middle School in Ithaca, NY. *Submissions always welcome. Email us 2 – 3 paragraphs that includes the garden project’s mission or goals, a description of the success story and its impacts, and attach two to three JPG. photos of the project (with rights released). Be sure to include your address, phone #, email, and project website (if applicable).
The Super Duper Veggie Garden of Doom and Broccoli sits on 6,000 square feet of what used to be a lawn about 100 feet south of the school building. It’s close enough to Wayne Gottlieb’s 7th grade science class (from which the Super Duper name of the garden originates) that even the most reluctant students can get there in 4 minutes. Students make this trek several times year round, in November to put their beds to sleep, in March to sow salad green, in May to transplant their tomatoes and peppers and in June to harvest greens and weed their plots. In the summer students volunteer to do summer maintenance and sample the harvest. In summer 2011 40 students volunteered in the hopes of sharing a watermelon during a break from building trellises and harvesting carrots.
The garden was built in 2009 as a way of integrating sustainability into the science curriculum. It was hoped that science concepts, cell biology, plant biology, reproduction and genetics, could be taught through gardening. To some extent this has come about, however, efficiently integrating content from the NYS science curriculum remains challenging. The impact on the school community is incredible. Cafeteria staff enjoy serving fresh garden veggies at lunch in the spring and fall. Most students love gardening and many have learned to appreciate kale and other vegetables. Parents have been a big resource as garden volunteers to supervise activities, share about their own gardens or even deliver mature horse manure or bags of dry leaves.
The success of the garden has been dependent on donations of money and volunteer hours from parents, teachers, community members and organizations. Generous grants from Lowe’s, the Ithaca Public Education Initiative and Donor’s Choose have allowed us to purchase everything we need to run the garden. We’ve also depend heavily on parents, DeWitt School staff and community members who volunteered to build the garden or supervise students. Gardens 4 Humanity and Cornell Cooperative Extension – Tompkins County have been instrumental in helping to find experts in the community who want to help out. The garden has greatly benefited from collaborations with other DeWitt teachers. The art teacher joined us in designing and painting a mural on the shed. Gates were designed and built by students in the Technology student’ association. These donations of time and money serve not only to keep the garden going, but to form important bonds between the school and the community.
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