If you have driven down McKeen Street in Brunswick recently, you may have noticed the new greenhouse on campus, and wondered what plans are in store. As part of a grant funded by the Department of Education, students at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary School (HBS) will soon be experiencing more outdoor learning as part of their curriculum! This coming spring will hopefully offer new outdoor learning spaces for students that will likely include a pollinator garden, compost systems, 4-5 fruit trees, a “Sunflower House,” and greenhouse seedling projects during late winter when the snow won’t allow for outdoor work yet. HBS used some of the grant funds to hire a part-time Garden Coordinator, who will help oversee successful garden and greenhouse projects that will get students involved in the hands-on gardening projects throughout the school year.
BTLT educators are supporting the project by helping to identify ways that hands-on activities in the new garden spaces will tie into the science curriculum. Fifth graders, for example, who are learning about nutrient cycling will build and maintain compost systems to recycle garden waste and turn it into “black gold.” Fourth graders studying sense receptors will observe pollinators to see the different ways that bees and butterflies use different body parts to sense the world around them. Third graders studying plant traits will observe closely to find plants that have similar traits (leeks, garlic, chives for example) and notice the similarities and differences between different varieties of squashes and pumpkins.
Everyone will get to enjoy the power of the sun as the greenhouse provides a balmy break from the cold winter weather. Right now the first step is to get rid of the grass and turn it into garden beds. The Garden Coordinator took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather to get the first delivery of soil in mid December. We look forward to supporting the Garden Coordinator and students this spring as they get outdoors for learning adventures in the garden!