A Hipp grant of $4,500 will help educators Jaime Chavkin and James Verrengia extend the Green Schools initiative at Stevenson School located in Fairfield, Essex County. The continuation grant will expand on the “Four Pillars” framework of a Green Schools initiative: (1) Strive to be Toxic Free; (2) Create a Green, Healthy Space; (3) Teach, Learn/Engage; and (4) Use Resources Sustainably.

Last year’s third-graders, now the “garden experts,” will create a garden in their new school following these same principles.

The project will follow the National and State Science Education Standards, and will include standards in English/language arts, math and many others. The garden will provide an abundance of lessons in all subjects. For example: art classes will design the elements in the gardens; English/language arts will be integrated with students writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry about the plants and gardens; health and nutrition classes will use the garden produce in lessons, educating students about nutritional food choices; science lessons will include studying the life cycles in nature, flow of energy, and food systems while engaging in hands-on investigations of photosynthesis, food webs, composting and agriculture; the construction of the garden will require math skills such as calculating area and perimeters; math will also be utilized to estimate garden expenses and calculate actual expenses.

Students will visit the garden with their classes on a rotating basis. Teachers can schedule a time to use the garden for extra lessons, above and beyond their other garden visits and responsibilities. Students will document plant growth throughout the year. Students can join an after-school garden club for those who want to be more involved.

Student assessments taken throughout the year will be compiled into an Annual Report and made available on the school’s website.

The local Eagle Scouts and Girl Scouts will become involved with the maintenance of the garden as well as fundraising for upkeep and on-going projects. Local companies can become involved in an “adopt-a-bed” or “adopt-a-garden” program to help with the financial burdens.

For further information, contact:

Jaime Chavkin
(973) 227-2120 (Stevenson School)

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