Pine Hill Middle School students will continue to learn about sustainable gardening thanks to a $10,000 continuation grant from the Hipp Foundation. Camden County educators Amanda Thistle-Natalie, Renee Gilson, Christina Dooling, Denise Vuono, Katie Bojanowski and Lynne Kells will introduce students to alternative forms of gardening, building upon the study of aquaponics, with the addition of vertical farming, traditional gardening, composting, and farming as an art form. Students will recognize the importance of alternative farming methods to create a self-sustaining home, of eating and preparing healthy foods, and of successful ways to run a business.

After students research various forms of farming, they will identify the components of a biotic and abiotic environment, differentiate between heterotrophic and autotrophic organisms, and understand nutrient cycling. They will measure levels of nutrients in the soil and measure plant growth. With the data collected, students will be able to develop a working farm stand and provide fresh vegetables to the community.

As part of their professional development, staff will visit a local school with a successful aquaponics and greenhouse system. The school and its lead teacher will act as a guide and will give students the opportunity to educate the project team, and students as well.

A goal is to develop a school farming community to provide students and their families with the opportunities to be sustainable.  A community garden will provide families who wish to farm, to do so in a common space designed in conjunction with the art teacher.

For more information, contact:

Amanda Thistle-Natalie
(856) 210-0200 (Pine Hill M.S.)

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