(Whitney Ciancetta of Trenton Elementary School, describes their school’s greenhouse and gardens.)
The Maine School Garden Network recently convened 65 teachers from around the state at its annual “Maine School Garden Day” at Trenton Elementary School. The purpose of the event was to provide preK-12 teachers currently or potentially involved with school gardens a day of workshops and networking.
The day included presentations, workshops, a lunch of local produce, and a tour of Trenton Elementary School’s greenhouse, gardens and outdoor education center and nature trails. Guest presenters included Erika Verrier, Program Director of Maine School Garden Network, Willie Sayer Grenier of Maine Agriculture in the Classroom (MAITC), 2019 MAITC Teacher of the Year, Lynn Snow, Maine FFA (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) State President Graham Berry, and many others. Presentations also included information on establishing school orchards by ReTreeUS, seed saving techcniques, information on bees, and on native plants, as well as other subjects. Afternoon workshops covered an array of topics of interest to teachers with school gardens.
The day provided participating teachers with valuable information and resources related to ensuring the success of their school gardens. Erik Verrier of Maine School Garden Network (MSGN) urged all teachers to complete the MSGN online School Garden Survey so that they could continue to network with each other and additional interested teachers, and so that MSGN would be know how to best serve their needs.
MAITC 2019 Teacher of the Year, Lynn Snow, a 5th grade Science and English teacher at Thomaston Grammar School, described ways in which their school garden helped students acquire skills across numerous academic areas, as well as areas related to important life skills such as taking initiative and perseverance.
Graham Berry, Maine FFA State President, let teachers know that Maine FFA represented many other areas beyond farming relevant to the field of agriculture and natural resources. He informed the group that any of them with students grades 7-12 would qualify to have an FFA chapter at their school, helping students to access numerous opportunities encompassing competitions, leadership skills, travel, scholarships, and an overall greater appreciation of agriculture and natural resources.
For more information on starting an FFA chapter for students grades 7-12, please contact: Doug Robertson, Maine FFA State Advisor, Maine Department of Education, firstname.lastname@example.org (207) 624-6744