Educators & Agriculture
MAC Mini-Grant Winners 2008
First Cycle (April 2008)
Grant 1: The Breeding, Hatching and Brooding Chicks for the Farm - A Class for Children
Codman Farm is requesting funds to help purchase some of the equipment needed for a class for children 9 and older titled “Breeding, Hatching and Brooding Chicks for the Farm.” The Codman Community Farm has already presented a pilot of this class to a group of ten 10-year old girls in late winter 2008. After completion of the class the troop of girl scouts then used some of their cookie money to purchase a new egg incubator for the farm. Many of the scouts have since returned to the farm with their families to visit “their” breeding flock and their chicks. They will also offer a presentation to the public in April. The program will allow the farm to expand to more children of this target age.
Contact: Christopher Carmody, Codman Community Farm 58 Codman Road Lincoln, MA 01773
Project Duration: February March 2008 - then Fall 2008 and Winter 2009
Mini-Grant Award: $291
Grant 2 Apples Are Us
The Apples Are Us project was conceived by 8th grade teachers at Quaboag Regional Middle School. The project would allow 125 eighth grade students to learn about and experience Massachusetts agriculture in the following ways. Students will start out the school year in September with various multi-disciplinary lessons in all subjects relating to the apple orchard industry. All students will then take a field trip during October to a local orchard in the vicinity of Quaboag Regional Middle School. A culminating activity would take place one week later and would involve cooking apples, preserving the food, and producing a student driven cookbook. The project fosters appreciation and awareness for local farms and proper nutrition. The total project cost is approximately $1,950. The amount requested , $1,500, would help greatly to offset the costs of the project. All monies would be used to pay for apple orchard tours and busing for our students.
Contact: Jeff Robbins, History Teacher, Quaboag Regional Middle School 284 Old West Brookfield Road Warren, MA 01083
Project Duration: September 2008 through October 2008.
Mini-Grant Award: $800
Grant 3 The Role of Honeybees In Our Community
Now more than ever the public needs to learn about the honeybee. We will do this with an observation hive, which is the only way to observe the bee up close. People cannot see inside a regular hive without wearing protective clothing. This project would add as essential missing link to the bee’s natural world. The honeybee is in jeopardy worldwide. We feel that taking part on our organic community farm with sustainable agriculture we can help educate the community.
NCOF is a non-profit, certified organic farm providing productive open space and hands-on agricultural and environmental education for people of all ages. Annually, 15,000 plus visitors visit the Farms pastureland and wildlife habitat, crops and farm animals. An observation hive is a perfect fit for this learning community.
Contact: Ryan Williams, beekeeper, The Natick Community Organic Farm, 117 Eliot Street Natick, MA 01760
Project Duration: Spring and Summer of 2008 with education programs to follow in the fall
Mini-Grant Award: $800
Grant 4. Creating A Monarch Butterfly Habitat and Way Station
Creating a butterfly habitat and way station is a wonderful way to contribute to the conservation of the monarch butterfly. Many natural butterfly habitats have been lost to urbanization, use of pesticides, and grass cutting along road and highways. The objectives of this project are to teach children about both plants and animals, how they are dependent upon one another, and the delicate balance that must be nurtured in order to sustain our existence on the planet Earth. Additionally, students will be taught the migration patterns of the Monarch, how to tag them, and the importance of sustaining the migration of these butterflies. Virtually every standard in the 4th Grade Life science framework will be taught by creating this habitat and way station.
Contact: Cindy Darcy, Grade 4 Science Teacher, Toy Town Elementary School, 175 Grove Street Winchendon, MA 01475
Project Duration: June through October 2008 to create the garden, and thereafter to be enjoyed
Mini-Grant Award: $750
Grant 5. Southern Berkshire School Farm
The Southern Berkshire Farm is a cooperative project between the Southern Berkshire Regional School District, Sheffield Land Trust, Sheffield Agricultural Commission and local farms and businesses. The project’s goal is to construct a permanent school farm on-campus that consists of a barn with outdoor classroom and four rotational pastures for the school’s newly obtained dairy goats and ducks. The presence of a school farm will help fulfil our goal of district-wide agricultural education by providing a hands-on learning experience for students in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. To ensure the success of integrating agricultural topics into state standards, agricultural curriculum will be collaboratively developed and high school students will be utilized as mentors.
Contact: Cassandra Uricchio, Science Teacher, Southern Berkshire Regional School District 491 Berkshire School Road, Sheffield, MA 01257
Project Duration: April 2008 through December 2008
Mini-Grant Award: $1,500
Grant 6. Kids Compost
The Sunderland Elementary School is going green. Kindergarten will compost kitchen, snack foods and eventually all school waste. Our goal for the first year is to raise awareness in all students about how food waste can be used to improve soil quality for agricultural use. Our rich Valley provides opportunities for first hand experience in agricultural practices. Through visits to CSA farms including the Western Mass Food Bank Farm, local organic and conventional farms we will see how composting improves soils and food quality. We will start composting a small quantity of food waste in compost and worm bins. We will use compost we generate in our pumpkin, butterfly and vegetable gardens/ Our main initiative is to compost all food waste generated at Sunderland Elementary School. This will involve teaching all students (age 3-12 years) and staff recycling procedures. Food diverted will go to our compost binds and the bulk to Bear Path Farm.
Contact: Creating Ceil Antes and Susan Breines, Kindergarten Teachers, Sunderland Elementary School Swampfield Drive Sunderland, MA 01375 413-665-1151
Project Duration: June through October 2008 to create the garden, and thereafter to be enjoyed
Mini-Grant Award: $800
Second Cycle (September 2008)
Grant 1 The Higashi Garden for the Young Adult with Autism
The Higashi Garden is a on-campus vocational training site, for the individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), who are in the Emergence Program at Boston Higashi School. This job site has proven to be a significant and effective one for the students by providing opportunities for the development of skill required by specific job tasks at school. The mission at the Higashi Garden is to provide the students with the opportunity to gain the necessary experience in the agricultural occupation in conjunction with the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks to obtain future employment. The job training focuses on a set of sequenced steps when teaching the students the process of raising vegetables and producing lavender soap. Simultaneously, the students are also expected to develop skill sets pertaining to the collaboration of related job sites by interacting with coworkers, as necessary.
Contact: Hiroshi Abe, Employment Education Teacher, The Emergence Program, Boston Higashi School, 800 North Main Street, Randolph, MA 02368
Project Duration: September 2008 through August 2009.
Mini-Grant Award: $700
Grant 2 The Farm Explorations
“Farm Explorations” will introduce 22 first grade students at the Mendell Elementary School in Roxbury to the various aspects of sustainable farming. In taking a field trip to Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA the students will learn about crops and raising animals. As the teacher, I will be responsible for the grant money which will go to Drumlin Farm and the Eastern Bus Company. Due to the socioeconomic class of my students, I am unable to ask parents to pay more than a few dollars towards a field trip, which is why I am requesting the full cost of the trip. T he objective of this project is for students to understand how a farm operates. They will come away with an understanding of how vegetables are grown and where they come from. Students will also have a better understanding of farm animals and their purpose on the farm
Contact: Janna Vrlik, Mendell Elementary School, 164 School, Roxbury, MA 02119
Project Duration: September 2008
Mini-Grant Award: $450
Third Cycle (November 2008)
Grant 1 How Does Your Garden Grow
The Hopedale Jr. Sr. High School 7th grade Science students (100) and 9th and 10th grade Biology/Botany (25) enrolled in courses with Mrs. D’Amico will create edible gardens, erosion control gardens, butterfly and bee attracting gardens, and will develop an experimental small garden of staple crops such as corn, wheat, soybean, rice and potato plants in the schoolyard this year. Seed germination will begin by students-constructed growing systems, placed in student-constructed, lighted greenhouse units. This project will be student-centered agricultural learning.
Contact: Sandra D’Amico, Hopedale 7th, 9th and 10th Grade Teacher, Hopedale Junior Senior High School, 25 Adin Street Hopedale, MA 01747
Project Duration: September 2008 through September 2009
Mini-Grant Award: $300
Grant 2 Three Season Garden Program
This proposed grant funded program will provide an introduction to sustainable farming practices for eighty 3rd graders, their teachers, and parents. This nation is largely detached from the food that it eats and most children do not know where their food comes from or the methods by which it is produced. We live in a rural community, and are fortunate to have the opportunity to provide an educational experience that will change the way youngsters think about the environment that produces the food we eat.
Contact: The Lydia Silva, M. Ed., Director Youth Education, Berkshire Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 826 Stockbridge, MA 01262
Project Duration: January 2009 through Summer 2009.
Mini-Grant Award: $200
Grant 3 Season of Seeds
Our project, “Seasons of Seeds”, will engage students in the full cycle and importance of heirloom seeds. Students will supplement their science frameworks with hands-on learning in every season through the selection and growing of lettuces and pumpkins. Experimental and historical practices will be documented, and group problem solving with be encouraged. The production of winter greens to be shared in the cafeteria, continuing to spring transplanting in our donated field will be gratifying. Students learn from area farmers the use of sustaining practices and renewable resources, finally realizing success with selling heirloom varieties at Winchendon’s farmer’s market. Fall brings another crop of students along with edible and ornamental pumpkins. The cycle of collecting, growing and marketing heirloom seeds and produce will renew this project for years to come.
Contact: Susan F. Burdsall, Agricultural Committee of Murdock Middle High School Kent H. Forty, Assistant Principal Murdock Middle/High School, 3 Memorial Drive Winchendon, MA 01475
Project Duration: January 2009 through October 2009l
Mini-Grant Award: $500
Grant 4. What's the Buzz? The Honeybee Problem
In a collaborative effort between a 7th grade science teacher, a 7th grade English teacher, and the junior high librarian, 86 students at Tantasqua Regional Junior HS will study the honeybee. In October, in a unit about insects, the students will conduct research about the biology of the honeybee, its benefits to agriculture, and its current state of decline to Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. Through this research and subsequent talks and visits with farmers, students will learn how this problem affects the farmer and ultimately, themselves. They will gain a better understanding of the importance of agriculture in their loves and the difficulties farmers face in the 21st century. Students will use the library, access library databases and use the web. A local farmer will visit the school bringing a hive and equipment. In May during bloom season they will visit a local orchard and speak to an orchard manager. Finally they will create a calendar with pictures.
Contact: Lisa Lamothe, Jr. High Librarian, Tantasqua Regional Junior High School, 320 B Brookfield Road Fiskdale, MA 01518, 508-347-7381 ext 22.
Project Duration: October 2008
Mini-Grant Award: $400
Grant 5. Sustainable Living Curriculum
The development of an inter-disciplinary, multi-course curriculum focused on sustainable Living is one piece of Mohawk Trail Regional School’s facility-wide goal of becoming more “green” and sustainable. Phase 1 of the Sustainable Living project, specifically the Introductory Horticulture course, will help students foster a deeper understanding of the role of farmers and local agriculture, and give students hands-on experience of good agricultural practices. The need to maintain sustainable agricultural systems will be addressed through the Introductory Horticulture course, through the school-wide recycling/composting activities, and the “Green” Day event. The primary beneficiaries of this project are the 21 students enrolled in the Introductory Horticulture course at MTRS. Secondary beneficiaries are the 800 students and faculty members ay MTRS who will benefit from the overall goal of “greening” the facility and making its’ operations more sustainable. Ultimately, the development of a Sustainable Living program, which can be used as a model in other school districts, could benefit countless numbers of students throughout the Commonwealth.
Contact: Julie Dubreuil, Project Coordinator, Mohawk Trail Regional School, 24 Ashfield Road, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Project Duration: December 2008 through June 2009
Mini-Grant Award: $600