EarthBox in Our Schools:
EarthBoxes Teach in Many Ways
What do biology, health, physical education, and nutrition classes have in common? At North Hills Junior High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, EarthBoxes are used in all of these disciplines.
Environmental Science students in grades 7-9 are experimenting with vegetables grown traditionally (in the ground) and those sprouting in EarthBoxes. Biology Teacher Jennifer DiPasquale notes the cross-curricular benefits: "Growing produce in the EarthBoxes engages students in applied science and improves their nutritional knowledge and choices."
Mari Musial, Nutrition, Food and Fitness instructor, adds, "They're also learning the importance of buying locally, soil safety, eating organic food, and preparing it."
The Nutrition, Food and Fitness class at North Hills encourages students to make healthy food choices as part of an overall wellness program. Students in grades 9-12 are not only growing vegetables, greens and herbs in EarthBoxes, but are learning how to can and preserve the produce using classroom equipment obtained through a grant. This class is also offered to parents, teachers and community members.
The seed that sprouted all these EarthBox projects was sown a couple of years ago when Heidi Kohne, Music Teacher and Environmental Club sponsor, assisted an Eagle Scout on a project. The Scout's butterfly and bird garden expanded into a vegetable garden funded by a school grant. The first crops grown and harvested in the protected courtyard at North Hills were pumpkins, watermelons, and cherry tomatoes. Since then, students have grown many different vegetables in the EarthBoxes, including lettuce, which they drizzle with homemade salad dressing and enjoy in class.
Says Ms. Kohne, "North Hills is home to amazing students and a fantastic staff. By joining together as a faculty, we've created a cross-curricular opportunity that will positively impact our students and community members for years to come."
Growing in the EarthBoxes has been so productive that the boxes will soon be moved into a greenhouse on school grounds, so students can grow year round.
The educators at North Hills are very grateful for the following companies and agencies that have provided grants that have helped these projects flourish: Youth Venture, Highmark, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and Best Buy.
Teachers currently taking advantage of the instructional benefits of the EarthBoxes at North Hills Junior High School are Music Teacher Heidi Kohne, Biology Teacher Jennifer DiPasquale, Mari Musial of Family and Consumer Sciences, and Kelly Snyder, Physical Education.
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 Dr. John Braswell, a retired Mississippi State University Extension Horticultural Specialist, who is experimenting with EarthBox container gardens. As you can see, he used a shaded high tunnel to grow out crops in both the summer and winter.
"I'm having good success with my crop in the EarthBoxes right now," says Dr. Braswell. "I planted warm season crops (tomatoes, eggplant and peppers) in the boxes last spring. This fall, I started growing beets, broccoli, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, Napa cabbage, carrots, pak choi, kale, collards, lettuce and spinach. They'll be ready for harvest in a couple of weeks.
"The EarthBoxes are a good system to use!"
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!
Other STEM News
Those educators who work with girls in STEM are encouraged to sign up for the National Girls Collaborative Project newsletter. If you do, please include the word "EarthBox" in the Program Title field.
EarthBox Education is supportive of The Afterschool Alliance and the National AfterSchool Association as they conduct surveys to assess the state of STEM in afterschool and summer programs around the country. The data obtained will be vital to helping better describe and promote the STEM learning that occurs after school and during the summer. Please take a moment to fill out the first survey in the series by going here. When completing the survey, please include the word "EarthBox" if appropriate.
Here's a list of Education Distributor websites to assist you in obtaining catalogs and getting more info about using the EarthBox system in your classroom.
(Catalogs: Elementary Math/Science, Summit, Science, Senior Activities)
(Catalog: Secondary Science)
Ward's Natural Science
Ward's of Canada
Congratulations to Bay Haven School in Florida! They won the recent Fisher Science Earth Day Contest, based on their long-running EarthBox growing program. To learn more, click here and check out Page 11 of the Fisher newsletter.
I hope you're enjoying your holiday season!
This is a busy time for educators, as you're finishing one semester while planning for the next. But we're here to help, and we have some great news to share: we've recently added new features to our EarthBox Youth Garden Guide to incorporate more science and fitness-oriented activities!
Youth Garden Guide Features
Each activity now begins with a topical, thought-provoking question to encourage analytical thinking during the hands-on projects. The four sections contain activities to develop four different but equally important skill sets. The Student Preparation for Successful Beginnings section helps students set project goals. The new Horticulture for Fitness and Health section helps foster healthy habits that fight obesity, diabetes, and other conditions. Work Place Development projects teach students marketing and interpersonal skills, while Data Collection introduces and reinforces research concepts and analysis.
Incidentally, the additions to the Youth Garden Guide increase the grant eligibility status of EarthBox Instructional School Gardens to include grants focused on fitness and nutrition, green school grants, and STEM-related grants.
Order your Youth Garden Guides now and enjoy 20% off the normal price!
We only think when we are confronted with a problem. -- John Dewey, American Philosopher, Psychologist and Educator 1859-1952
|EarthBox in Our Communities|
EarthBoxes and Students Help Feed Ocean County Seniors
Recently, EarthBoxes have helped bring generations together in New Jersey. This past summer, O.C.E.A.N., Inc., the community action agency for Ocean County, New Jersey residents (a non-profit organization established 45 years ago), launched a Team Nutrition Community Gardens Program.
Over 70 sixteen-year-old students from local school districts tended EarthBox gardens at 15 family and senior housing sites throughout the county. These students, along with their team leaders and supervisors, planted, watered, and harvested fresh fruits and vegetables for over 1,000 disadvantaged senior residents.
"We thought it would be great to have a nutritional program, and work with families and seniors to provide gardens on their sites," said Ted Gooding, President/CEO of O.C.E.A.N., Inc.
"The EarthBoxes are providing more than just nutritious produce to seniors. The project has given students from urban areas the opportunity to get back to the Earth," points out Team Leader Paul Doherty. "Living in an urban community, people don't always get to garden."
Special needs Vo-Tech students in Ocean County shared their talents as well; they built benches so the EarthBoxes are above ground, and therefore more accessible. What's more, the gardens, brimming with cucumbers, eggplant, string beans and more, have beautified many vacant lots, and lifted some of the burden from local food pantries.
This very important program has been funded by a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. For more information, click here.
O.C.E.A.N., Inc. Mission Statement: As the Community Action Agency for low-to-moderate income residents of Ocean County, O.C.E.A.N., Inc. is committed to providing quality and comprehensive services that improve the quality of life of individuals and families and assist them in moving toward self-sufficiency.
We accomplish our mission by identifying community needs and advocating solutions; utilizing available resources to promote the growth, development, and personal independence of our customers; and taking a leadership role in the strengthening and nurturing of partnerships in our community.
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|
EarthBoxes Expand Distribution!
EarthBoxes will now be distributed in Scandinavia, making their presence around the world even more significant! ST.SG Produkter AB will be distributing all EarthBox products to schools and consumers in that region. The corporate office is located in Stockholm, Sweden, and the company is owned by Stefan and his brother Tomas Niklasson.
Says Tomas, "It will take some time to establish EarthBox as a learning tool and integrate it into the education curriculum. We believe educators will begin to understand the value of incorporating EarthBoxes in science classrooms. English language instruction will also be part of the EarthBox program.
"The curriculums we will provide schools will include projects that run for 6-8 weeks. We think EarthBox has a great future in Sweden!"
For more information on this new EarthBox distributor, click here.
ING Unsung Heroes
|Every year, the ING Corporation demonstrates its commitment to the education community by awarding more than 100 grants to K-12 educators utilizing new teaching methods and techniques that improve learning. The 100 Unsung Heroes selected receive $2,000 to help fund innovative class projects, while three receive the top awards of an additional $5,000, $10,000 and $25,000!|
For more information about this program, and to apply for next year's grants, just click here. The deadline is April 30, 2011.
|Instructional Plan for EarthBox Learning|
Middle School EarthBox Project
This issue, we present a cool weather crop project for middle school students in which broccoli and spinach will be planted, nurtured and harvested. Students will celebrate their yields with one of three recipes.
This 12-week activity includes two outdoor planting sessions. Visit this link for the instruction plan, and be sure to scroll down to Page 2 for the recipes!
|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.