Written by Luci Hancock, BRWIA AmeriCorps VISTA
Mountain Pathways was recently awarded a HCLF and Lettuce Learn grant, which they used to replace their hive that was lost this past year and to add an additional hive. The grant also allowed for the purchase of two pairs of wee-bee gloves, which older students use if they want to work with the bees.
The bees have been a valuable teaching tool for Mountain Pathways school and their summer "Farm Camp". Through discussions and lessons focused around the bees, students have learned about diet and nutrition, flower and tree identification, indicator species, naturalization and invasive species, conservation and much more!
Mountain Pathways sells the honey from their hives to help fund their Farm Camp. They use the profits to pay for field trips to local farms, to buy seeds and soil for their garden, and for supplies needed to make snacks using ingredients from the garden. The Farm Camp teaches students about intensive, sustainable agriculture practices. Throughout the program, campers learn problem solving and critical thinking skills, as well as how to apply math, science, technology, and engineering concepts in everyday life. Campers also learn entrepreneurial skills by marketing and selling farm products through the camp's road side farm stand.
High Country Local First
For every Local First Rewards Card sold, High Country Local First donates $5 to support local school garden programs in Watauga and Ashe Counties. This grant cycle, Lettuce Learn and HCLF awarded three schools with grants to build or expand upon their garden-based educational programming.