‘Living walls’ draw attention
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.”
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.
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.