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MAC Mini-Grant Winners 2010

First Cycle   (April 2010)


Mini-Grant 1: "From Garden to Plate"

The Marblehead High School Library would like to enrich and expand our current book holdings to support agricultural education topics covered in our classroom curriculum. The resources would also support K-12 student and faculty research and district expertise for developing and maintaining raised-bed vegetable gardening at all district schools. The materials will also be used by a K-12 faculty study group, “Infusing Nutrition and Health Wellness across the Disciplines,” led by the district’s lead nurse. Resource topics would include: nutrition, plant science including taxonomy; ecology and conservation of resources; environmental issues; agricultural history; and current agricultural practices and issues such as, genetically modified organisms, factory farms, industrial agriculture; garden construction and maintenance and organic farming. The materials would be used to supplement classroom teaching labs and would provide research materials for student projects.

Contact: Virginia Bowen, Library Teacher -- Marblehead High School -- 2 Humphrey Street -- Marblehead, MA 01945-2290

Project Duration: April 2010 and into the future

Mini-Grant Award: $365


Mini-Grant 2: "Egg to Chicken"

The objective of our project is for second grade students to understand and develop an interest in the development of a chicken. Students will learn about the incubation of a chick, candling, turning and caring for the eggs and the hatching and brooding of chicks. Students will be provided with daily information on the development as well as any changes they observe. Classrooms will create a timeline to be viewed by the school and will “adopt” a kindergarten class to experience the process with them through daily reports and observations. Students will also learn about the process with them through daily reports and observations. Students will also learn about the importance of farmers in raising chickens. Throughout the experience, the chicks will be incorporated into the math, writing and ELA curriculum.

Contact: Jill Phelan, 2nd Grade Teacher -- Barry School -- 44 Connell Street -- Chicopee, MA 01020

Project Duration: Spring 2010 and continuing into the future

Mini-Grant Award: $300


Mini-Grant 3: "Science, the Visual Arts and Vermiculture Collide"

This is a proposal for an art and music event for Hubbardston Center School and Hubbardston Community Garden. The Hubbardston Center School’s Community Garden’s Compost bin was initially built in 2005, in another location. It was moved to its current location after an infiltration of rodents. Numerous community members contributed money, time as well as supplies. New signs explain the Community Garden, its mission as well as the benefactors and people who contributed supplies. The Community Garden is still growing strong! A new project is to draw pictures of certain plants for seed labels. The seeds were then sold by the students to raise funds for raised beds, since the garden gets very wet. It has become one of my missions of my art room to help in any way the HCS composters/Community Garden. I also like to support the music department and community theater. The art department made fruits and vegetables for the market scene for ‘beauty and the Beast.” Now we have a display of our paper mache fruits and vegetables that underline an article about the health and benefit of certain vegetable groups titles “Eat Your Colors.
There is a worm bin in the art classroom. The compost bin is being renovated and enhanced to make it work better.

Contact: Kerry Bart-Raber, Hubbardston Center School -- 8 Elm Street -- Hubbardston, MA 01452

Project Duration: Spring 2010

Mini-Grant Award: $280


Mini-Grant 4: "NES Courtyard Garden Project "

The Northbridge Elementary School has a small courtyard that is no longer utilized. I have developed lessons and activities that the kindergarten classes can utilize in the spring to help teach the kindergartners about the importance of plants, how plants grow, the basic of agriculture and to help them connect to nature. We will plant sunflowers, corn and carrots so students can plant the seeds in the spring, and when they return in September as first graders they can see how much the courtyard has changed over one growing season. Students will be able to use the seedlings to measure plant growth and make predictions about how big the plants will be in the fall. They also will be able to talk about how the plants provide food for us and other animals. We will also create a small touch garden that students can explore using their senses.

Contact: Christina Connolly -- Northbridge Elementary School -- 30 Cross Street -- Whitinsville, MA 01588

Project Duration: April 2010 through November 20102

Mini-Grant Award: $145


Mini-Grant 5: "Hatching Chicks at West Street School"

Students will gain a life experience of hatching chickens within the classroom. The city of Southbridge Massachusetts is an urban area in which students require the explicit teaching of agricultural topics. In this project students will observe the life cycle of a chicken and understand the role a chicken and an egg play in providing the students and their families with quality eggs to eat. The students will learn about how food is grown and they will understand that even though the town of Southbridge is not rural, students and their families can find fresh eggs at the local feed store. The project will take place in Julie Letourneau’s fourth grade classroom.

Contact: Julie Letourneau, 4th Grade Teacher -- West Street School -- 156 West Street -- Southbridge, MA 01550

Project Duration: Last week of April and May 2010 and continuing into the future

Mini-Grant Award: $200


Second Cycle   (September 2010)


Grant 1:   “Vermicomposting in the Classroom for a Three Sister's garden in the Schoolyard”

Composting is nature's way of recycling and worms are known as nature's recyclers. The project that we are requesting funding for will allow the children at the Kenney School to see first hand, how we can recycle our garbage, reducing waste that would go into a landfill, and use the compost material for planting a new garden in the schoolyard. Students will understand the process that goes into getting food from the land and onto our plate. By creating a composting bin, students will learn how organisms in the soil recycle organic waste into humus which can be used for producing new plants. This project addresses scientific principles across the K-5 elementary grades from earth and life sciences as well as literature and social studies.

Our objectives are that students will be able to observe animal structures of the worms. they will learn about life cycles, including the nitrogen cycle. They will be able to describe how energy derived from the sun is used by plants to produce sugars (photosynthesis) and is transferred within food chain from producers (plants) to consumers to decomposers. The younger children will be able to identify what an organism needs to live and adapt to their environment (food, air, water, space) and identify living and non-living things. we also want the children to gain an appreciation for the farming and where the food comes from, by planting a three sister's garden in the schoolyard. We will be clearing a section of the field (approximately 20' by 10') in our schoolyard, tilling the soils and planting seeds for corn, beans and squash. we will use the worm castings from our worm composting bin to give the plants nutrients.

Contact: Michelle Papile, Science and Technology Teacher -- Kenny Elementary School -- 19 Oakton Avenue -- Dorchester, MA 02122

Project Duration: Fall 2010 through Fall 2011

Mini-Grant Award: $752


Third Cycle   (November 2010)


Grant 1: “YouthSeed: Seed Starting and Nursery Care”

The YouthSeed: Seed Starting and Nursery Care Project will use a grow light nursery system to grow vegetable and flower starts while simultaneously modeling a commercial enterprise at Community Teamwork, Inc. (CTI) YouthBuild Lowell's site. The goal of this initiative is to educate students on the importance of agriculture and to provide academic and occupational skills education in horticulture and agriculture. YouthBuild students will grow primarily heirloom vegetables by implementing organic growing methods that they will have learned in the classroom. The complementary classroom instruction will provide academic education in agriculture, horticulture, and food science and politics. Students will participate in the business aspect of the nursery by finding outlets for production through sales or donations. This initiative will strengthen our partnership with another educational and occupational training program within CTI's Workforce Division, the New Entry Sustainability Farming Project, which will diversify the project's expansion opportunities and promote sustainability. CTI YouthBuild Lowell is requesting $1,408 for this project.

Contact: Green Projects Coordinator, Community Teamwork, Inc. -- Youth Build Lowell -- 391 Pawtucket Street -- Lowell, MA 01854

Duration: December 15, 2010 through May 30, 2011

Mini-Grant Award: $1,000

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