Sheri Sankner is a science teacher at P.S. 31 in Greenpoint. Even with a self-proclaimed lack of a green thumb Sheri has designed a beautiful garden with enthusiastic support from her school community.
“Working with the Battery Urban Farm training program has been one of the most rewarding, worthwhile, and beneficial learning experiences of my 12-year teaching career. With a brown thumb at best before, I was worried about starting a schoolyard garden at P.S. 31 Samuel F. Dupont Elementary in Brooklyn. I now feel confident that I can spearhead this new gardening program with our eager students. The content of every class was helpful and interesting. The instructors, Anna Scott Ellis and Josie Connell, were insightful and supportive in giving us their valuable input and wonderful lesson plans, as well as offering us a wealth of resources. I loved the various field trips we took, not only to their beautiful Battery Urban Farm, but also the Edible Schoolyard in Brooklyn, and the other rooftop and schoolyard gardens in Manhattan and the Bronx. It was also a lot of fun cooking harvest goodies with Jennie Plewka from Red Rabbit as well. Since taking the training course, I have established a Gardening Committee at P.S. 31, received a grant from Grow to Learn to start our garden with four raised beds, established a timeline for a Spring/Summer garden, and created a workable crop plan. I even have a parent volunteer who is master woodworker to build the beds and benches we need for our outdoor learning garden. I will also be distributing 10 indoor subirrigated planters to science and some classroom teachers so that our planting can actually begin indoors next month. We look forward to a wonderful crop of herbs and vegetables.”
By the end of the spring P.S. 31 will go from a concrete play yard to 4 raised beds growing herbs, lettuce, kale, snap peas and so much more. We can’t wait to see how this garden grows!
Ahmed Salama, an ESL teacher, joined us from P.S. 386 in The Bronx. Ahmed already had a small garden at his school and is working to expand his growing space and encourage more teachers to enjoy the garden with their students.
“One of the best educational choices I have made was joining the Battery Conservancy Teacher Training Program. My learning experience has been both rewarding and edifying. The urban farming course is well organized, smoothly paced and rigorous. The learn-by-doing approach made newly acquired learning comprehensible and lasting. The seamless combination of hands-on, class work and field visits allowed me to consolidate concepts of urban farming and conservancy. The instructors’ wide and deep level of knowledge allowed them to design coherent and well structured lessons. Through the training program, participants were able to connect and build a network of urban farmers throughout the city which allows for further collaboration and support. I feel very proud to be part of the urban farming movement in New York City.”
Now it is time for us to get into the heavy lifting, measuring, sawing, hammering, shoveling and of course seeding to grow Ahmed’s garden from 4 to 10 raised beds. It’ll be hard work, but we know he’s up to the job.
If you are an elementary public school teacher and you are interested in participating in our 2015/2016 Teacher Training Program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing everyone an amazing 2015 growing season.