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This year we have made 4 trips to Nana Cardoon, one in the Fall and three this Spring. Our Spring trips were in April and May. We are looking at how nature changes with the seasons. One of our focuses this year was the role that soil plays in growing plants. Each visit we have done activities that help builds quality soil. As well as observing and exploring, we have planted potatoes and corn, and helped remove invasive English Ivy. We even learned to weave the ivy into baskets, making something useful from it. We have made various flat breads from grain grown at the farm, made tortilla of 3 colors of corn, made tabbouleh salad with dandelion greens, and short cake for a strawberry feast! We have explored changes in the garden, the role of pollinators, as well as methods of recycling, including vermiculture (worms). We also used the sun to cook delicious banana bread. Our visits have ended with a group meal, enjoying our food creations. The results have been tasty. For our final visit, we had a strawberry feast with cooked pound cake. This was our celebration of a successful year!
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Our project will clean up the school garden which has been left untouched for 2 years and fix the rampant weeds that continue to grow there.
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In the fall, we will dig a trench, fill it with maple logs from a tree that was cut down a couple of years ago, branches, etc. We will add composted leaves from our town, surround it with straw bales, and plant cover crops of winter rye and hairy vetch. In the spring, we will plant peas, which fix nitrogen, as well as being delicious. We would research other plants that would make sense for the area: maybe mushrooms, currants and blueberries. The result we would hope for would be good soil with lots of microorganism and edible plants for ourselves and the birds successfully grown from it. We would photograph it, and science classes could analyze the soil and micro-organisms. We would also use this as a demonstration of hugelkultur for students at all our schools and for the community - posting on a website and hosting visits.
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This garden will receive 8 raised beds, placed into the orchard garden. We will teach students to build the raised beds, install drip irrigation, seed crops. Students will learn to compost as we install a compost bin, cultivate the crops and the fruit trees. Students will learn abut water schedule, thinning seedlings, grow harvest to prepare a wholesome meal.
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Activities will begin once teachers return to school the end of July. Students will come to school and help with the harvesting prior to the beginning of the school year in mid August. Students will prepare the soil for weeding, hoeing and replanting. Once school starts students and teachers sign up of class graden time to go out to help work in the garden. When our families come to school, community members and school district employees come to our school they will be taken on a garden tour by the student and class who are in charge of the garden at the time of the visit. This project will enable all of our students and teachers to have a vested interest in the outcome of our garden, the produce, protecting its beauty and securing students will have access to eat the produce from our garden.
United States
We are located on a USDA research facility (although no funding for this project is from them), and have a lot of space to expand our bee program and project. Our high school students are interested in creating a program and a traveling trunk for younger students to learn about bees. We know that the population of honey bees is decreasing all of the time. Since we are a STEM center with programming for school age children and community stakeholders, we are going to develop kid-friendly information to help maintain and increase the bee population in our area. We have researched the type of foliage we need to plant, the equipment needed for our project, signage we need around the property, safety precautions, and citizen science activities about bees. Our students will be completing all of these research topics and putting them into action.
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We hope to buy signage for the garden, decorate our garden and help to buy new plants for the Winter months.
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Our project tackles a wide variety of issues found in our community, so there is a variety of ways we can measure our impact. First, once the produce we grow is ready to be harvested and given to either the students to take home for their parents to cook with or given to the cafeteria to use in the school lunch for the day , that is an obvious indication that the garden beds and the effort to provide organic, nutritious produce to kids living in "food deserts" was successful. Furthermore, after we work with teachers and faculty at the schools/centers to develop environmental educational lesson plans to teach to the students, we can tell by the students reactions to learning new material how excited they are to have this opportunity. Additionally, the garden beds and tending to them are a good form of therapy for the students who live in harmful environmental exposures, such as air pollution, which often occurs in communities facing SES stressors including deteriorating housing, poor access to health care, high unemployment, crime, and poverty, which may exacerbate negative health effects. Once the students are each given a seedling to plant, and are given the responsibility to take care of it and watch it develop into life, it really benefits the students. Also, once we install the garden beds, we plant milkweed (which is the main food source for monarch butterflies) which instantly attracts monarch butterflies, which almost instantly brightens the entire mood of the campus as well as beautifies it by providing lush pre-sprouted seedlings. Another indicator we use to measure the impact our project has made is when we see the relationship and bonds develop between the volunteers and the students that we bring ht garden beds to. Over time, the students open up to the volunteers and work side by side on the garden bed, not only gaining a hands-on science experiment but also developing a sense of having a role model and someone to look up to. We will collaborate by reaching out to under-served elementary schools and at-risk youth centers in the surrounding community to bring the community together, to unify us through the power of obtaining knowledge. We will also reach out to UF students on campus for those who are interested in volunteering on the garden beds and engaging with the students at these schools/ at-risk youth centers. We will show courage by not allowing the socio-economic cleavages in our community put the under-served students at a disadvantage. We will rise past the deep rooted social-scturture to connect and engage our community to close that gap. We will show courage by not giving up on our mission even if a school or youth center is unable to take on the garden beds and declines our offer, which is the biggest challenge we face. But its okay, we expect this because our goal is to reach out to struggling facilities that need the help. We will increase our compassion by reaching out to more elementary schools and at risk youth centers to make an impact as many students as we can, because we believe they deserve the same opportunities as every other student despite their socio-economic status. We will increase our passion by attempting to the engage the community as much as possible, wether it be from reaching out to more students who could potentially be interested as volunteers, or reaching out to more than just elementary schools but hopefully middle and high schools as well. We will continue to expand and make a difference to the best of our abilities.
Tanzania
This project will expose the women to different opportunities such as new projects' ideas, skills and mindset change. This will be possible through connecting them with various opportunities such as entrepreneural projects and get them involved in decisions making as well as creating changes as a group.
United States
School gardens provide a wide range of benefits to both the student gardeners and the broader school community. For students, school gardens serve as living classrooms that teach lessons as simple as "where our food comes from" to complex lessons on ecology, resource management, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. The goal of this action is to encourage and support the creation and maintenance of school gardens. In order to earn points for this action, the garden needs to have been active during the current or previous growing season and include plantings that produce fruits, vegetables and/or herbs that could be consumed by students. The garden must be utilized to teach environmental and/or nutrition education involving students interacting with the garden for learning activities during the school year.

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