First graders at Northside and South Warren have had some fun garden experiences this spring! We've planted all sorts of delicious vegetables, practiced garden yoga to discover the needs of a plant, and most recently delved into a worm bin (left) to see an ideal animal habitat. Thank you to Vaughan Elementary teacher Ms. Simons for letting us borrow Hotel Transylworma! Many of the students went from fearful of worms to understanding and loving these great creatures who make rich soil for our environment. This week, we will learn about recycling and composting, remembering back to how we composted strawberry tops in the worm bin. More fun learning times ahead!
Mariam Boyd's 4th and 5th grade Culinary Club completed their second fundraiser, selling paninis and salad to all teachers and staff during lunch. The event was highly successful, raising over $170 for our club!
The students and a few parents used the money from this event and the soup event in February to take a trip to Simply Crepes in Raleigh last Saturday. Crepes were new to many students in the group, and they got to watch the making of their crepes before sitting down to enjoy this new food.
Next up, Family Night for our club members in Jun
High School mentors and Vaughan Elementary mentees came together at Warren County High School the other day. Older students showed the younger ones around all over the school and grounds to give them a taste of high school life. Part of this tour, of course, was the garden! Student buddies paired up to help plant flowers and sweet potatoes, and renovate our garden for the spring. Mr. Sauegling, Ms. Sahai, and Ms. Simons were innovative in their approach to this awesome day, and their help in the garden is much appreciated!
To the left, see Leroy weed our tire garden and plant
This Spring, Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School Exceptional Children teacher Annabello Bello is leading a garden project with her class and fellow teachers. She wants to involve her students in planting and maintaining the garden, and have it open to the public over the summer for harvesting. She says people often visit the school over the summer and there is always a need for more fresh vegetables in her community. Plus, the kids will learn and have fun!
To the left, Art teacher Roy Alston constructs the beds with direction from Ms. Bello. Earlier this month, Horticulture Agent Paul MacKenzie and I visited the school to give input on garden design, materials, and planting options. FoodCorps was able to donate seeds and plants grown in the Warren County High School greenhouse by their Garden Club. The Tribal School team was very appreciative, it definitely takes a team to help with such a big project!
I spent the winter convincing students that cabbage is the bomb. And for the most part, it worked. Students looked forward to lunch when "Warren County cabbage" was on the menu. When the season was over, I was approached and asked, "WHERE is the Warren County cabbage? I want it to come BACK!" Students expressed that they loved eating it with their friends, pouring vinegar on it, or dousing it in hot sauce.
In partnering with the local non-profit Working Landscapes who actually got the cabbage (and collards) into the schools, I was able to conduct cabbage promotion activities in the garden, classroom, and cafeterias of all elementary schools in Warren County. Though now I must respond to monikers like, "cabbage lady," and "the one with the collards," I thoroughly enjoyed being at all our schools promoting these nutritional gems in the lunch line! Our Warren County products will be back this spring and so will the cabbage lady!
Above, A cabbage promotion table sits in the cafeteria at South Warren Elementary School. As they wait in the lunch line, I ask students while pointing to a huge cabbage, "Have you seen one of these before?" "Do you KNOW how delicious it is?" "Can you guess how much it weighs?" When we finish talking about cabbage and how awesome it is, students are ready to pick it in the lunch line and eat it up at the table. A third grader who guessed the correct weight of our cabbage got to take it home. She cooked it up with her grandma and declared it, "the best ever."
Garden and Nutrition Education:
Below, Mariam Boyd 5th grader, Keyandre, harvests a whole cabbage plant from neighbor Rob's awesome garden. During Culinary Club, we brought our harvest home from this garden visit and cooked up some delicious sauteed cabbage. Students were able to relate the scrumptious cabbage they were cooking up after school to the cabbage on the lunch line.
"We should be wearing berets!" Jaylen, 5th grade, exclaimed as he was painting the side of his garden. Ms. Simons's class at Vaughan Elementary gave their garden a makeover last week, painting it neon green! Students were very focused as they carefully layered on even coats of paint. The paint will serve to decorate their garden and also prevent against splinters and wood rot. Hopefully the bright green will encourage our pollinator friends to visit the garden!
After painting, we all went inside to learn, what is in paint? Jaylen correctly hypothesized that glue (latex), water, and coloring are in paint. Watching how paint was made in a factory was very fun, and allowed Leroy to remark, "That is one amazing machine!"
In March, 1st graders at Northside Elementary and South Warren Elementary participated in FoodCorps programming, expanding upon their science lessons around soil. To learn about the importance of soil and what it contains, FoodCorps led some lessons from the 4H Curriculum, "Soil Solutions." In one lesson, students compared two types of soil from around their school and created a hypothesis, guessing which soil would have more sand particles in it. To the left, a South Warren student writes his hypothesis in his garden journal.
This spring lessons will continue, focusing on ecosystems for plants and animals, as well as goods and services when it's time to harvest our delicious veggies from the garden!
Michael Ring, organizer of Warren County's Community Garden project at the Senior Center, visited WCHS Garden Club last week to help start seeds. Students planted alongside Michael the following starts: tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers, assorted herbs, and eggplant. Seeds were donated by Cherry Gal, a Warren County heirloom seed company, and FoodCorps.
On the left, freshman Adam Long waters our seed starts. Garden Club will be responsible for raising the plants until time to place them in the community garden this spring. Students are excited to participate in a community service project that serves their county outside of school.
This year, with the help of our county extension office, the WCHS Garden Club has become an official 4-H Club! This status has allowed us to elect leadership within our club, organize ourselves more effectively, and access fun programs like the annual 4-H Poultry Show, our district's Teen Retreat, and 4-H Presentations at Northeast District Activity Day. Our group will also compete in the NC Envirothon on March 21st, testing our knowledge of Aquatics, Soil, current environmental issues, Wildlife, and Forestry.
To the left, 4-H Agent and County Extension Director Crystal Smith teaches students parliamentary procedure during our meeting. Vice President Jahaun Attucks runs the meeting in the absence of our President. Students now know how to properly run a business meeting, pass motions through this procedure, and set an agenda.
When Ms. Simons started vermiculture and garden classes with FoodCorps and her students last fall, the plan was to build a small garden for her students to tend. Fortunately, a science class had left a dormant bed some time ago, and we were able to refurbish it with little effort. This past week, students enjoyed the sunny weather, digging up weeds and wild onions. They also amended the soil with some worm castings from "Hotel Transylworma," their class's indoor worm bin. Planting carrots and potatoes of all colors last week, we're also looking forward to fresh lettuce and a harvest party later on! Great job Ms. Simons and students!
Caroline Stover is from Winston-Salem, NC, and is currently serving as Warren County's FoodCorps Service Member.