Green Schools Quest 2015/16
Go Green Forsyth, the School’s sustainability committee, has been developing a curriculum across all of the grades to address one of our School goals: Students will be responsible stewards of the environment. During the previous two years of the Green Schools Quest, students focused on learning about solar energy and recycling.
Over the years, Forsyth School has maintained raised garden beds in the Lower School space on campus. Now our gardens are expanding with an outdoor classroom component in the Upper School space behind Next House–this year’s Green Schools Quest project.
Sixth Grade Green Schools Quest Project. In February 2016, Grade 6 students built a raised garden along the privacy wall at the western edge of campus. They leveled the land, built the garden box, and filled the box with soil and compost. Through building, planting, and maintaining the new raised garden bed, as well as maintaining and harvesting from an indoor Tower Garden, Forsyth sixth graders will expand their knowledge of growing their own healthy food.
Launching the Project. To kick off the garden project, the sixth graders read Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. They discussed how community gardens bring together people from varied backgrounds. Our Green Schools Quest mentor, Carolyn Green, visited Grade 6’s morning meeting to introduce the Green Schools Quest in early January and taught mini-lessons during math class to plan the placement, dimensions, soil layers, and types of vegetables the students would plant.
Throughout the month of January, Grade 6 students created a PowerPoint presentation of our raised garden bed proposal for Forsyth’s Plant & Land Committee that was approved. Concurrently, students learned about nutrition through MyPlate, and in science, explored the relationship between the Forsyth garden and healthy eating with Mrs. Deken.
Building, Planting, Harvesting. On a beautiful summer-like day in February, the class built a raised garden bed with the help of Carolyn Green, Michael Mitchell and Gil Spinks (Forsyth Facilities team), Christine Torlina, and Gary Schimmelpfenig. Construction and gardening were at play here. First the kids leveled the land; then they constructed the garden box (with power tools, wearing safety goggles), moved the box to the leveled location near the wall, and filled the box with soil and compost. It was a daylong project carried out in shifts.
In March, the sixth graders had a “Hats on for Harvest” fundraiser benefitting Earth Dance Farms and Gateway Greening. They raised $230, which they presented to Earth Dance on a field trip to study organic gardening and farming.
The sixth graders germinated seeds in the Lower School Science Lab with Ms. Torlina. Throughout spring, the students will plant, maintain, and harvest from both the raised garden bed and the indoor Tower Garden (donated by Gateway Greening from a grant given by Sandi Barrett of Juice Plus). We’ll use our vegetables and herbs in recipes that will be enjoyed by the students.