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MAC Mini-Grant Winner 2014

First Cycle   (April 2014)


Mini-Grant 1: "The Planting More Project in Partnership with Tucker Elementary School"

Abstract: The Planting More Project will be a brand new endeavor for the Tucker Elementary School! The Planting More Project's primary goals are to feed minds and bellies, with the use of an outdoor educational curriculum and outward-focused community projects. The curriculum will focus on the wonder of growing food and the reality of how we use this food to be great neighbors to those around us.

Audience: 60 kindergarten students
Grant money will fund: Materials for building/planting raised beds

Project Leader: Ivy Anthony, Tucker Elementary School, 15 Houston Avenue Milton, MA 02186

Project Duration: April to Fall 2014

Mini-Grant Award: $300


Mini Grant 2: "The Ottoson School Garden Upgrade Project"

Abstract: The plan for the Ottoson community garden is to upgrade the grounds so that it can be used as an outdoor classroom that already compliments the after school and summer programs already started there. The underutilized space needs more garden beds for classroom use, creation of an area for sit down learning and discussion, completion of the warming greenhouse, pathways and containers that are handicapped accessible, more tools for student use and seeds/ plantings to start the curriculum and to beautify the periphery spaces.

Audience: Around 300 grade 6 science students.

Grant money will fund: Materials to install and plant additional raised beds, including 100 blocks for a retaining wall.

Contact: Lisa Lambert, Ottoson Middle School, Arlington, MA 02476

Project Duration: January 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014 and beyond

Mini-Grant Award: $500


Mini-Grant 3: "Bringing Embryology into the Community"

Abstract: The springtime ritual of bird observation will be expanded through this repeatable program which brings embryology into the community to encourage greater local knowledge of avian reproduction, embryonic development, and life-cycles. There will be hands-on egg care; observations through candling, microscopes, and without instruments; journaling; mathematics through data collecting, weight analysis, and graphing; and opportunities to compare and contrast avian and other animal development.

Audience: 25-30 local children and their families.

Grant money will fund: Materials needed to incubate 2 dozen chicken eggs

Contact: Rachel Roberts, Sprout Homeschool Science Program, 52 Madison Circle, Greenfield, MA 01301

Project Duration: April 20 to June 1, 2014

Mini-Grant Award: $277


Mini-Grant 4: "Leverett Elementary School Community Greenhouse"

Abstract: The Leverett Elementary School greenhouse has 11- 3 x 6' raised beds and two work tables. Each class has its own "bed" to create garden related projects. 4 of the beds are devoted to raising produce for the school cafeteria. We would like to extend the growing projects outside of the greenhouse by establishing a butterfly/ hummingbird garden as well as increasing the studies of soil science. We would like to purchase supplies to create raised beds for theme gardens, tools & science supplies.

Audience: 125 students in grades Pre-K through 6
Grant money will fund: Supplies to purchase raised beds for theme gardens, tools and science supplies

Contact: Dawn Marvin Ward, Leverett Elementary School Leverett, MA

Project Duration: April 1 through November 18, 2014

Mini-Grant Award: $500


Second Cycle   (September 2014)


Mini-Grant 1: "Eco-machine/Biosphere"

Abstract: When I was a kid growing up in the 60's there was a push for science and technology education but it was not called STEM at that time. It was the “race for space” and it was on everyone's minds. What intrigued me the most about it was the question of how would astronauts feed themselves on extended space flights or on space stations or colonies on other planets. What plants and animals would be suitable to raise in these cramped conditions with limited space and resources at a premium? How would they treat and recycle all of their wastes? I believe it was this initial interest that led me to major in agriculture with a focus on food production. The interest in space seems to have dwindled by comparison today but we are much more aware that we live on a planet with finite resources and how to feed the world's population is a problem of great magnitude. In recent years the Biosphere II project in Arizona set out to test some of the theories of plant and animal production within an enclosed ecosystem. This site has become the second most popular tourist attraction in Arizona (after the Grand Canyon!). By combining this idea, but on a much smaller scale with the Eco-machine concept, I hope to build a classroom model that will ignite an interest in students interested in the environment that will tap into their imagination and stimulate them to contribute exciting new ideas while learning some of the basic principles of life science.

Audience: 50 students this school year, 1500 students longterm 
Co-sponsors and project partners: The Blackstone River Coalition, Eugene Bernat and the Fisherville Redevelopment Corp, John Todd Ecological Design and Ocean Ark International, Alden Labs, MassAudubon’s Broad Meadow Brook, Boston College Lynch School of Science & Technology Education, WPI Environmental Engineering Program, Worcester Water Department DPW, Greater Worcester Community Foundation and Mass Water Works Association, $400 from the Greenhill Park Coalition, $400 award from the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

Contact: R.J. Anderson, Environmental Technology teacher, Worcester Technical High School, One Skyline Drive, Worcester, MA 01605

Mini-Grant Award: $1,500



Third Cycle   (November 2014)


Mini-Grant 1: "Fisher Farms"

Abstract: Fisher School will transform a section of our school grounds into an educational and edible garden. In doing so, our children will learn healthy and sustainable habits. During the school year, the garden will serve as an outside classroom addressing the Massachusetts State Frameworks and standards. During the summer, the garden will become a community garden tended to by volunteer/neighboring families and volunteer staff. Harvests will be initially incorporated into lunches at our school.

Audience: 457 K through 5 students this school year, 1500 students longterm.

Co-sponsors and project partners: Walpole Food Service, Board of Health, Fisher PAC, Walpole High School.

Project runs: Fall of 2014 to Summer of 2015

Contact Person: Colleen Duggan, Principal, Fisher Elementary School 65 Gould Street, Walpole, MA 02081

Mini-Grant Award: $500



Mini-Grant 2: "Growing Green in the Classroom - All year Long"

Abstract: In this second year of our district-wide efforts to create sustainable gardens at each of our three schools, Tahanto Regional Middle/High School, Berlin Memorial School, and Boylston Elementary School, continue to reflect the mission and goals of MA Agriculture in the Classroom, by using the produce from these gardens to make connections to our school lunch programs, reaching out to the larger community, and using multiple types teaching and learning opportunities to foster awareness of the challenges that farmers and the agricultural community at large face throughout the growing process. At all levels, students reflected on the process through discussions and journal recordings in the classroom. Our objectives for this year, based on the committee’s reflections about the successes and challenges of the first year, are to expand the physical capacity for growing through additional beds and to extend the growing season at each school by starting the process earlier in classrooms. The ability to utilize gro-lights will ensure that seeds are tended to properly, receive adequate lighting, and can be monitored in a single location. We also intend to bring forward community members from agriculture-related jobs and organizations into the classrooms to present and discuss the importance of gardening in society. Berlin-Boylston Public Schools has applied for and received a mini-grant from MAC in 2013. 
Co-sponsors and project partners: MA Agriculture in the Classroom, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, Central MA Community Grange, Boylston Garden Club, the Boylston and Berlin PTOs, and Indian Head Farm, Berlin, MA. This year, we will be adding Lettuce Be Local to our partnership and the Berlin-Boylston S.T.E.M. Advisory Board.
Grant money will fund: Grow lights for classroom use

Project runs: February 15 to Late October 2015

Contact Person: Carol Costello, Director of Curriculum and Grants, Berlin-Boylston Public Schools, 214 Main Street, Boylston, MA 01505.

Grant is for: Tahanto Regional Middle school only.

Mini-Grant Award: $300


Mini-Grant 3: "Garden Tool Supply Improvement Plan for the Bagnall School Children's Garden"

Abstract: A shed near our garden has recently been rehabilitated for use as a garden storage shed. Over the years we have relied on borrowing garden tools from families and the school maintenance group. The lack of garden-designated tools has made going out to the garden with 20-30 children a challenge at times. We have found it is best to break classes into smaller, manageable groups, each focusing on a different area of the garden. To make garden activities more accessible, we are looking for grant money that will enable us to purchase a good selection of durable garden tools and supplies for the students and staff.

Audience: 680 students in Pre-K through grade 6, staff and volunteers.

Co-sponsors and project partners: Bagnall Children’s Garden Club, Corliss Brothers Nursery.

Grant money will fund: Purchase of child-friendly garden tools and supplies

Project runs: March/April through June, 2015

Contact Person: Cathy Bevelaqua, Dr. Elmer S. Bagnall Elementary School, 253 School Street, Groveland, MA 01834

Mini-Grant Award: $300



Mini-Grant 4: "Burbank Organic Community Garden"

Abstract: Our project will transform an overgrown plot behind the school into an inviting and engaging vegetable garden. Improvements such as raised beds are needed to overcome challenges of the site and the investment will encourage participation across the school community. Students will help plant and tend the garden, and K-4 teachers will use the garden to enrich their curriculum. The rejuvenated vegetable garden will continue to be a valued resource for teaching and learning for the whole school.

Co-sponsors and project partners: Burbank After School Enrichment Collaborative (BASEC), Chenery Courtyard Club (a Belmont middle school garden club), Mass Audubon's "Habitat" Nature Education and Wildlife Center, Belmont Acres Farm, Belmont Food Collaborative.

Grant money will fund: an organic vegetable garden on school grounds

Project runs: November, 2014 - October, 2015

Project Leaders: Harriet Wong and Laurie Bufano, PTA Co-Presidents, Mary Lee Burbank Elementary School 266 School Street Belmont, MA 02478

Mini-Grant Award: $600



Mini-Grant 5: "The Yolk Project"

Abstract: During the 2012-1013 school year the Yolk Project made its debut at Muddy Brook Elementary School. This ongoing project consists of Ms. Ebitz’s fourth grade students incubating, hatching and caring for chicks whose eggs are then sold to staff and the general public. Half the proceeds of the egg sales are split between Berkshire Bounty and Heifer Project International, giving students the opportunity to think and act on issues related to hunger both on local and global levels. After the chickens hatch, the entire school community has the opportunity to be involved with the chickens when they observe them fertilizing the school gardens and have the opportunity to view the life cycle first hand. This grant is being requested in order for all fourth grade classes to have the opportunity to participate in the Yolk Project.

Audience: 92 grade 4 students and school as a whole (450 students Pre-K through grade 4.)

Co-sponsors and project partners: Rockytop Farm, Berkshire Bounty Farm, Project Sprout. Grant money will fund: furnish five classrooms with the necessary items to incubate, hatch and care for both eggs and chicks

Project runs: Fall of 2014 through Summer of 2015

Project Leader: Susan Ebitz, Muddy Brook Elementary School 318 Monument Valley Rd. Gt. Barrington, MA 01230

Mini-Grant Award: $825



Mini-Grant 6: "Kindergarten/First Grade Pumpkin Patch"

Abstract: We are a school of approximately 600 students. Our current eleven garden beds are all accounted for with agricultural activities, leaving us in a position of looking for start up funds to add two new 4x8 raised beds and the soil to fill them. Raised beds are needed due to the very poor condition of the soil on our school grounds. These new beds will be used to create a pumpkin patch which will be planted by our Kindergarten students in the spring and then harvested in the fall by the now first grade students. These students will use the pumpkins for Massachusetts framework related activities in science and math. They will also present pumpkins to the new Kindergarten classes to "pass the torch" to these students who will be planting pumpkin seeds in the spring. The Kindergarteners will also use the pumpkins in established Mass framework activities. Audience: 170-190 5 to 7 years olds.

Co-sponsors and project partners: Entire school community.

Grant money will fund: Expand existing eleven-bed school garden by two more beds. 

Project runs: May to October, 2015

Project Leader: Carolyn Montello, Brooks Elementary School PTO 108 Ashcroft Road Medford, MA 02155

Mini-Grant Award: $350

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