Reflections from parkway
On Friday, October 25th, we hosted a Lowe's Heroes Project workday at Parkway School. Lowe's employees volunteered their time to help with a variety of different garden projects. Working alongside them were several Watauga County Master Gardeners, a couple ASU students, an AmeriCorps Vista Service Member from Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, and several Cub Scouts/Parkway students and their Scout leaders. It was a great day of community collaboration in our Lettuce Learn gardens.
We'd like to give a huge THANK YOU to Lowe's for the time and materials they donated to our school!
Some of the materials donated include:
Scroll through the photos below to see what all we accomplished!
On Wednesday, October 12, many Parkway students and staff chose to participate in a Lettuce Learn taste test event during lunch. Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash was sampled by many students and most of those who participated gave a “thumbs up” to the sweet and nutty flavor of this winter squash. Students also watched a video in their classrooms to “meet” the local farmer who grew the squash. Butternut squash can be stored for months and is packed with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. It can be roasted, mashed, and used in soups, baked treats, and casseroles. The seeds can also be roasted for a delicious snack or topping for salads and oatmeal. We hope the taste test activities will encourage students to try a variety of foods as well as to be more aware of the origin of their food and the importance of local farms and farmers!
Thanks to the cafeteria staff and volunteers for their help with the taste test! Thanks to High Country Local First for funding our TASTE (Teaching All Students To Experience) Local Food grant and for the Parkway PTO for their support of Lettuce Learn!
"Pollinators are responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we take each day, and yet pollinators are at critical point in their own survival. Many reasons contribute to their recent decline. We know for certain, however, that more nectar and pollen sources provided by more flowering plants and trees will help improve their health and numbers. Increasing the number of pollinator-friendly gardens and landscapes will help revive the health of bees, butterflies, birds, bats and other pollinators across the country."
We are doing our part at Parkway to provide for pollinators thanks to the hard work of our students and volunteers and grant funds from Captain Planet Foundation and the Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation.
Students and volunteers worked together to create a new pollinator habitat in front of our school. We planted native plants to attract pollinators and added signs to spread the word about the importance of taking care of the pollinators!
Check out the photos below to learn more and to see some of the pollinators already visiting our garden!
Check out the Photo Voice images middle school students created after spending some time taking photos in our new pollinator habitat! A great learning experience for all!
Thanks to funding from a High Country Local First Farm to School Grant, Parkway students will be participating in several farm to school taste tests, an event that offers students small samples of local foods during school lunch hours in the cafeteria. Providing taste tests featuring seasonal local produce in the school cafeteria will be the focus of the TASTE Local Food (Teaching All Students To Experience Local Food) project. A video and poster about the local farmers who have grown the produce will be shared with students. When possible, samples of the featured produce will also be grown in the school garden or greenhouse.
The first farm to school taste test was ALL About BEETS! On May 4th, students had an opportunity to taste beets and beet greens during lunch. The beets were grown at Springhouse Farm in Vilas which is an organic and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified farm. Students also watched a video about Springhouse Farm and farmer, Amy Fiedler (Thanks to Richard Tidyman, Parkway CTE Teacher for filming and editing this video and Amy Fiedler for starring in the video)!
Here are a few photos from the first farm to school taste test at Parkway School!
The planning, planting, growing, cooking and learning has continued into November for the Lettuce Learn project at Parkway. Students from PreSchool to 8th grade have been involved and helped in many indoor and outdoor activities. Community volunteers and local businesses have contributed time and resources to help us keep our gardens growing! Check out the slideshow to see what's been happening! Caution - lots of pictures, learning and fun ahead!
It's been a busy few weeks in the Lettuce Learn school gardens and SunCatcher greenhouse at Parkway. Check out our photo gallery and read the caption for each photo to see what's been happening and what we are learning!
Today on the playground at Parkway, three students spent some time looking at a really cool camouflaged worm we found in the garden bed on the tomato plant. Turns out, it is a tomato hornworm. Oh no! At the bottom of this blog post is a link to some images and more information about it, as well as a picture of the one we found. Unfortunately, the worm disappeared before I was able to remove it from the tomato plants, so the students may find it again later. ALSO included in this post is a video from our own Richard Tidyman! Be sure to watch it!
As parents and students entered the front entrance to the building during the August 13th 'Meet and Greet Your Teacher' event, they also had an opportunity to learn more about the Lettuce Learn school gardens and SunCatcher greenhouse at Parkway School. Garden coordinator, Shannon Carroll, and CTE teacher, Richard Tidyman combined their efforts to set up a display to help parents and students learn more about the school gardening and learning opportunities Parkway students will have during the 2015-16 school year. The display included images showing students involved in the construction of some of the garden beds, classroom activities using produce from the gardens, the sale of plants from the SunCatcher last spring and many more examples of how school gardens can provide a wonderful learning environment for students. A few students and parents even tasted delicious, sweet tomatoes from the school garden. They were also able to check out the Lettuce Learn website, learn about ways they could support Lettuce Learn and sign up to receive updates on volunteer opportunities to help improve the school garden resources available to students and teachers. A bouquet of beautiful sunflowers grown from seeds planted by students last spring and now in full bloom out in front of the school brightened the display too! Based on the enthusiasm of the students and parents who took time to learn more about Lettuce Learn at Parkway and signed up to be informed about ways they can help, it looks like we are off to a great start continuing to GROW and LEARN at Parkway for the new school year!
The Parkway School garden is far into development, as it already had a foundation to build upon when we started back in April. The garden is composed of three different sections. In the front part of the school, there are four raised beds, where we are growing garlic, onions and various floral arrangements, as well as our compost pile. On the back side of the school, there are four more raised beds that were recently built and installed. In these, we are growing tomatoes, peppers, water melons, cukes, squash, onions, and eggplant. We are currently in the process of installing PVC framed shelters over these beds. Next to these beds is our greenhouse, where we are conducting an experiment of the growth of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants in a moisture controlled environment. Also in the greenhouse, various tomato and pepper species were raised and recently sold to parents and students raising around $200 for the school. The students planted the tomatoes and peppers back in early spring and transplanted them as they continued to grow.
Using 55 gallon plastic barrels, we constructed a rain water collection apparatus. This concept has been used in some of our lessons to explain the value of water and the importance of gathering it through natural systems. The rain barrels are currently being used at Mabel Elementary School, but we plan to install a gutter on the greenhouse so that the rain barrels may be used at Parkway School in the future.
Our plants are not the only living thing within our garden. We also have a worm bin composed of red wigglers, which were provided by Blue Ridge Organic. Our worm bin has been a great teaching tool for our students, as multiple lessons have been taught on the importance of decomposers and organic material in a successful garden. The students love to feed and “play” with our pet worms.
Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture Office
P.O. Box 67 | 969 W King Street
Boone, NC 28607