EarthBox in Our Schools:
Students Use EarthBoxes to
Curb Fertilizer Runoff
|Sixth grade students at the Gulf Coast Academy of Science and Technology have discovered that EarthBoxes are "Florida Friendly"! These budding scientists are growing produce in their own EarthBox garden, and helping to halt fertilizer runoff and excess water use at the same time.
At the start of each school year, about 40 sixth-graders in coastal Spring Hill, Florida visit their GCA EarthBox garden, located in a two-acre plot near campus. Under the guidance of field activity program coordinators James Kaufmann and Melissa Raulerson, students plant produce in individual EarthBoxes, tending to them every two to three weeks until December. Then they harvest their green beans, radishes, green peppers, and squash, sharing the bounty with family and friends.
"The most prevalent contaminant in Florida waters is nutrient pollution, in which fertilizers from lawns and agriculture enter the groundwater and cause oxygen-depleting growth in our freshwater rivers," notes Joseph A. Gatti, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Gulf Coast Academy.
"Our project specifically addresses the need for agricultural systems that do not harm the environment. We discovered that EarthBox container gardening allows growing to take place with virtually zero fertilizer runoff.
"Most of the nutrients are either absorbed by the plants or "recycled" when the soil is turned for the next growing season. The added bonus is that the EarthBoxes lose very little water due to evaporation; drip irrigation systems only run for 1-2 hours per week.
"We switched from open land farming a few years ago, because we wanted to teach a skill, hobby, or interest that would follow students throughout their lives. We knew if they had positive gardening experiences at school, they would continue the hobby at home. All of our students live in suburban homes with limited space for gardening, so EarthBoxes were the ideal solution.
"The EarthBox gardening model proved to be the perfect illustrative tool to reinforce the concepts of water conservation, water management, and respect for water as a natural resource."
These experiences will prepare students well for the seventh grade hydrology unit, which includes water quality experiments, and has been developed with the help of the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Gulf Coast Academy gratefully acknowledges grants from Florida Agriculture in the Classroom and the Hernando County Utilities Department, which help make these extraordinary learning experiences possible each year.
Special thanks go to Mr. Stacy Strickland from the Hernando County Cooperative Extension Service, who met with GCA students to explain the do's and don'ts of gardening, including how to identify and manage destructive insects, how to fertilize properly, and how to implement tricks that master gardeners use to maximize their yields.
For more information, visit the Gulf Coast Academy website and Water Matters.
|The Call Was Heard!
In the last education issue, we asked you to send 5 valid email addresses, so we can expand our community of educators. Thank you to all who responded! The following teachers successfully provided referral information, and will be receiving their replants kits soon.
Ellen Farina, Hebrew Academy, Margate, FL
Terri Taylor, Sierra View Elementary, Oakdale, CA
Darlene Carlmark, Etiwanda Colony Elementary, Cucamonga, CA
Christie Castagno, Rossman School, St Louis, MO
Thanks for your help, everyone!
Monthly Drawing for a
$50 EarthBox Gift Certificate!
Educators, we want to support you in every way we can. One way we show our appreciation is with our bi-monthly drawing for a $50 EarthBox gift certificate. This issue's winner is Maya Falck of The Spence School in New York, New York.
"The basil was planted in the spring
by last year's 5th graders with their HR teacher," Ms. Falck says, "and will be harvested by the current 5th grade to use for the pesto making community service project."
We'll be posting more winners as we choose them. Remember: to be eligible for the drawing, please mention the Source Code EDUDISC when ordering your EarthBox products.
Are You in the
The National Directory of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can help promote your after-school program, which in turn can lead to increased membership, funding, and partnership opportunities.
The Coalition for Science After School has partnered with Time Warner Cable to create this on-line national directory, and participation is absolutely free. Time Warner Cable, to support children and families, will promote STEM with Public Service Announcements throughout a five-year campaign.
EarthBox Education wants to collectively upload information to the site. To do this, we need to hear from you. Please email your contact information and program description to Molly Philbin at email@example.com for loading. When the information is uploaded, you will receive an email with a login and password information, and you're in!
Register now to join more than 1 million Americans in rallying for
afterschool programs at 7,500+ events nationwide, when Mt. Rushmore will light up with the Empire State Building for Lights on Afterschool!
For those teachers starting the new school year, we hope it's a successful one for you and your students!
We've got a lot of news to share with you this time.
First, we've added a new feature to support you in your quest to improve the quality of life for school-age children. Beginning this issue, we will publish a new instructional link in each EarthBox Education e-newsletter. To help you identify the relevance of the instruction provided, the link will include the project's targeted age level, its seasonal appropriateness, time requirement, and focus.
Our first link will help elementary school teachers guide their students in growing fresh vegetables in just 40 days. Just click the link to learn more about the EarthBox Cool Weather 40-Day Spinach and Radish Project (scroll down to see all three pages), and to receive a 25% discount on the EarthBox Youth Garden Guide.
We invite you to visit EarthBox Education at one of the fall conferences
that we'll be attending. That way, you can learn firsthand how EarthBox Education improves the quality of life for students by raising their awareness of nutrition, increasing their test scores, teaching them where their food comes from, and how to grow it with our easy-to-use EarthBox Ready to Grow Kit and correlated, Pre K-12th grade standards-based curriculum and garden guides.
Enjoy your autumn! Just about all of us feel the urge to begin anew at this time of year, possibly because as young school children we returned to school each fall...and old habits die hard. Renewing ourselves in the fall is not only a good habit, but an easy one to fulfill, simply by growing out cool weather crops in the EarthBox -- whether in school, in our senior centers, or in the wider community.
Kind hearts are the garden, kind thoughts are the root, kind words are the blossoms, and kind deeds are the fruit. -- John Ruskin
|Youth Garden Guides|
Get Them at a Discount
We're selling our remaining inventory of 2010 Youth Garden Guides at a 25% discount. All you need to do is click here and then click Buy to get a great deal!
|EarthBox in Our Communities|
Girl Scout Troop's Bounty Goes to Church Pantry
This past February, an Oceanside, Long Island Girl Scout troop fundraised and purchased EarthBoxes for their EarthBox to Food Pantry Project. Troop Leader Denise Jablonowski and the girls developed this idea after reading the Girl Scout guide "Sow What," a requirement for Gold Award aspirants. We published an article on this community service project in our January/February 2010 EarthBox Education Newsletter.
Here's the follow-up on this successful venture: this past spring, the Scouts dug in, planted, and tended to the EarthBoxes, and later harvested the fresh produce. Eleven EarthBoxes were brimming with lettuce, peppers, herbs, cucumbers and tomatoes for several months in the Convent Yard at St. Christopher's Church, in Baldwin, Long Island.
After harvest, the fresh vegetables and herbs are cleaned, placed in baggies, refrigerated, and stored in the church's Rectory Food Pantry. They're continually provided to the needy in the community, people who span all races and creeds. "This has been a valuable learning experience for the girls," says Food Pantry Manager Mary Von Stein, "and the recipients are really delighted to receive the fresh produce."
The EarthBoxes have taken up permanent residence at St. Christopher's Church Convent Yard, and will be tended to later this school year by a new "crop" of Girl Scouts!
For information on starting your own EarthBox project, contact Molly Philbin at 800-821-8838 x8369, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
|EarthBox Around the World|
Canada and Nicaragua
Growing food is only half the story of The Growing Connection! The "connection" happens when students learn about horticulture and life in other countries from their peers. Recently, two TGC sites that have been growing vegetables have started sharing their experiences, each by connecting with students in another hemisphere.
Holy Cross Academie Internationale is a junior high school in Calgary, Alberta. The curriculum focuses on exposing their students to internationalism and a broadened world-view. Students grew enough produce in 25 EarthBoxes for over 400 servings of soup and side salads, with only a few additional ingredients necessary! After their success, the students at Holy Cross wanted to share their story with a school from another country.
A class of sixth graders from the Father Fabretto Center of Cusmapa, Nicaragua began their own The Growing Connection garden to have fresh, nutritious vegetables, mainly corn, to cook in their cafeteria. In addition to fostering a desire for healthy eating, the experience helps students grow their own vegetable gardens at home.
The two schools have begun a rich cultural (and horticultural!) dialogue by communicating through email and online forums on TGC's website. Students from both schools have shared video tours of their gardens and hometowns. Even in its initial stage, this experience in connecting has enriched the student's understanding of where food comes from, how it's grown in different environments, and what it's like to live in Nicaragua and Canada.
For updates on this partnership and others, stay connected with The Growing Connection!
We have a spiffy new funding opportunity to share with you today.
The Herb Society of America is on a mission to promote the understanding and use of herbs. In pursuit of that goal, they're offering educational grants so that individuals, groups, and small businesses can "develop and deliver learning experiences to the public." Schools and community groups are welcome to apply for a grant; the Society rewards one or two a year, totaling $5,000. Innovative projects enhancing herbal education are welcome, as long as they include learning goals and a mechanism to measure the educational outcome.
The application deadline is December 31, 2010. Click here for more information.
More on Ecoliteracy
We introduced you to the exciting Center for Ecoliteracy a few issues back, but we wanted to remind you about their unique Smart By Nature program! SBN presents the inspiring stories of the Schooling For Sustainability movement, publicizing the efforts of school communities and organizations to green school campuses, increase the consumption of healthy foods among students, and to help schools become models of sustainability.
Are you ready to learn the secrets of sustainability? Do you have ideas, experiences, and lessons learned in your EarthBox garden to share? Then climb aboard!
|Join Our Community|
EarthBox is on Facebook! Now you can become a fan of EarthBox, joining a community of fellow EarthBox users for conversations, advice and photo sharing -- or just to check out whatever new information EarthBox has to enhance your gardening experience.
And don't forget to check out our videos! This is a members only feature, so if you're not already a Facebook member, you'll need to sign up to view the videos.
To place an order, call
888-445-6295 (24/7) or visit our online store.
Educators, please mention the Source Code EDUDISC when ordering your EarthBox to be eligible for a free $50 EarthBox gift certificate! Winners will be selected from our customer base and announced in each issue of our newsletter.
|About EarthBox |
|The patented EarthBox was developed by commercial farmers, and proven in the lab and on the farm. Our maintenance-free, award-winning, high-tech growing system controls soil conditions, eliminates guesswork, and more than doubles the yield of a conventional garden -- with less fertilizer, less water and virtually no effort. |
It's used successfully on a daily basis by commercial farmers, educators, and consumers. Distributors are also finding it to be a popular growing system.
EarthBox is a remarkably easy-to-set-up system that can be used to grow produce virtually anywhere. EarthBox systems have been incorporated into community gardens all over the world, enabling families and neighbors to share fresh produce, while minimizing work and expenses.
EarthBoxes can even be found in classrooms. Our EarthBox Pre-K through 12th grade standards-based curriculum support packages can bring science to life, with hands-on cross-curricula lessons that teach principles of growing and nutrition utilizing the scientific method in student-driven experiments.
To find out more, click here.To request a catalog, call 888-917-3908.