‘Liv­ing walls’ draw at­ten­tion

The Glengarry News - - Front Page -

In­ter­est is grow­ing in “liv­ing walls” that have been flour­ish­ing at Char-Lan District High School since last year.

Shauna Dob­bie, an ed­i­tor-pho­tog­ra­pher of On­tario Gar­dener mag­a­zine, re­cently vis­ited the Wil­liamstown school to do a photo shoot and learn about the Green Team stu­dent gar­dens.

The fea­ture will look at how stu­dents grow their own veg­eta­bles and or­chard fruit to sup­ple­ment daily free break­fast and cook­ing classes, the Agri­cul­tural Spe­cial­ist High Skills Ma­jor pro­gram, the in­door hy­dro­ponic gar­den, the green­house and raised planters con­struc­tion classes built and part­ner­ships with young gar­den­ers at Wil­liamstown Public School.

Heather Grant, a Char-Lan teacher who su­per­vises the Green Team, re­lates that a blurb on the pro­gram caught the at­ten­tion of the mag­a­zine. Here is a sum­mary. “Ex­pe­ri­en­tial learn­ing is in full bloom at Char-Lan District High School and Wil­liamstown Public School! Stu­dents use hy­dro­ponic farm walls to grow fresh greens – even in the mid­dle of win­ter!

Stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in ac­tiv­i­ties at all grade lev­els from “Kinder-gar­den­ing” ac­tiv­i­ties plant­ing seeds, to se­nior stu­dents mea­sur­ing and cal­cu­lat­ing nu­tri­ent in­put (math), test­ing and controllin­g pH lev­els, ni­tro­gen, etc. (science/chem­istry), ex­per­i­ment­ing with new plants (bi­ol­ogy) and learn­ing to grow their own food in a sus­tain­able, eco-friendly way.

Stu­dents at Char-Lan bring home freshly grown pro­duce to share with fam­i­lies, har­vest greens for staff lun­cheons, and cre­ate their own recipes us­ing greens and herbs in their cook­ing classes.

Out­doors, stu­dents care for flower gar­dens, main­tain a 40-tree ap­ple or­chard, and have de­signed and built raised veg­etable planters us­ing re­cy­cled pic­nic ta­bles.

Stu­dents ex­per­i­ment with tem­per­a­ture con­trols us­ing the school’s cold shed/green­house (also built by the car­pen­try class). Out­door gar­dens pro­duce toma­toes, pep­pers, herbs, let­tuce, apples, wa­ter­mel­ons, berries and can­taloupe to sup­ple­ment Char-Lan’s daily free healthy break­fast pro­gram.

Both WPS and Char-Lan have in­door Zip­grow farm walls which are man­u­fac­tured by a lo­cal com­pany.

Ms. Grant adds, “Our stu­dents also gladly ac­cept dona­tions from lo­cal gar­den­ers when they thin out or split their own peren­ni­als.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

FO­CUS ON GREEN TEAM: Vic­to­ria St. Clair, of Wil­liamstown Public School, and fel­low Green Team mem­bers will be the fo­cus of an On­tario Gar­dener mag­a­zine ar­ti­cle. She and other WPS stu­dents helped to plant gar­dens at Char-Lan District High School. Vic­to­ria is shown with a flower box built by con­struc­tion stu­dents at Char-Lan and raised veg­etable planters that stu­dents built us­ing re­cy­cled pic­nic ta­bles.

TARA MAC­DON­ALD PHOTO

A LEAGUE FOR ALL: When Ash­ley Savoy of Mart­in­town could not find a league for her daugh­ter to play in, she de­cided to start one of her own. The pro­gram is af­ford­able and at­tracts young play­ers from Alexandria to Corn­wall. Here Sloane McDon­ald, 10, from Wil­liamstown, lines up a pitch. De­tails in­side.

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