New Plant and Animal Pathways at Heyday Farm

Kindergartners through 4th graders from Blakely Elementary enjoy a walk through a portion of IslandWood as they make their way toward a hilltop entrance to Heyday Farm on McDonald Road.

Cattle play a role in educating Blakely students at Heyday Farm.

Cattle play a role in educating Blakely students at Heyday Farm.

This year, teachers could choose between a “Plant Tract” and “Animal Tract”. Both groups learned how healthy soil is made and how the farmers, animals, weather and many elements come together to make the right mix.

A scavenger hunt helps lay the groundwork for the lesson, and the students get to see up close how a “milkshake” of eggs, whey, and recycled greens is the ideal treat for the pigs.

Students learn how to use a tool to make seed blocks that the Heyday farmers use for starting plants.

Students learn how to use a tool to make seed blocks that the Heyday farmers use for starting plants.

Older students learn in detail from Heyday farmers the building blocks of healthy soil, by examining it up close and experimenting with the tool used to make seed blocks, then placing seeds into the blocks.

The younger students learn from the scavenger hunt the role that each element of the farm plays in the healthy-soil cycle. Then they have fun taking on different roles and acting out a “pasture play” that is sure to help them remember how a pasture of healthy soil is created on the farm.

Graham class pasture dance

Students take on roles of animals, farmers, and weather in this “pasture dance.”

Two Blakely teachers chose to follow the “plant track”: Susan Claesson/3nd Grade, and Leslie Minkovich/2nd Grade. Six classes followed the “animal track”: all three kindergarten classes (Erica Hiatt, Jan Colby and Karen Keller); 2nd Graders in Carrie Holloway’s class; and 4th Graders with Victoria Chavez and Sam Cameron.

“My class came and learned about the animals and their contribution to the farm,” says Carrie Holloway. “We did some role play to help cement the learning. It was perfect for 2nd grade!”

 

Wilkes Students help seed Island Heritage Strawberry Plot

Hundreds of eager elementary school students are back at our partner farms this spring. For Wilkes Elementary students, the visits mean an easy walk from school to Historic Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms on Day Road.

Pearsall

A 3rd grade class from Wilkes Elementary transplants sugar snap peas.

Over 250 Wilkes students from 1st through 4th grades are visiting the farms to study both strawberries and greens.

Check out Mrs. Spickard’s website blog about her 2nd graders at the farm!

Laurie Spickard’s 2nd Graders plant pumpkins

EduCulture is excited to announce the launching of the Island Heritage Strawberry Project at Suyematsu, where students are repatriating the historic Marshall Strawberry and planting other varieties that through the decades have been popular production strawberries on Bainbridge Island.

Covert class berries1

William Covert’s 4th graders were the first class to plant Marshalls at Historic Suyematsu Farm this spring on land leased by Butler Green Farms.

The strawberry that once defined Bainbridge Island is now an endangered species. The Marshall strawberry was the “finest eating strawberry in America,” and was grown extensively on Bainbridge Island, where it thrived. During harvest, 500 fifty-gallon barrels of Marshall strawberries were shipped off the island daily. After WWII, if was ravaged by viruses introduced from abroad and was cut from commercial production, almost vanishing completely. Today, small pockets around the country are working to save the strawberry, an original in an industry that has bred the flavor and juiciness out of the berries we see in our stores.

On their recent visits, Wilkes students and their teachers helped to plant the Marshalls, along with other berry varieties such as Shuksans, Rainiers, and the Marshall and Ever Bearing Mix. Part of the Heritage Project will include Island elders assisting in the cultivation and harvest of the Marshalls, which many helped their families grow on local farms prior to WWII.

 

Ordway visits Historic Suyematsu Farm

First-graders from Ordway came to Historic Suyematsu Farm & Bentryn Family Farm to help plant several strawberry varietals and learn how the history of the berries is intertwined with Bainbridge Island history.

 

First graders from Wilkes Elementary help plant strawberries at Suyematsu and Bentryn Family Farm.

Ordway 1st grade students transplanting Rainier strawberries at Historic Suyematsu Farm, on land leased by Butler Green Farms.

Ordway students and their teachers helped to plant the Marshalls, along with other berry varieties such as Shuksans, Rainiers, and the Marshall and Ever Bearing Mix. Part of the Heritage Project will include Island elders assisting in the cultivation and harvest of the Marshalls, which many helped their families grow on local farms prior to WWII.

Ordway Elementary students learn about historic Suyematsu farm from EduCulture's Jon Garfunkle.

Showing students a map of where they had traveled that day on Suyematsu & Bentryn Family Farms.

Ordway students also enjoyed a scavenger hunt that took them through several areas of Suyematsu farm and enticed them to find the clues that would reveal many interesting facts about the crops, wildlife, and soil.

Preschoolers from ICP at the Farm

 

Check out Island Coop Preschool’s own blog post about a visit to the farm!

http://islandcooperativepreschool.blogspot.com/

Students from Island Coop Preschool begin their spring visits during the last week of April, and make several visits through the season, into June.

Teacher Heidi talks to ICP students about spring crops.

Teacher Heidi talks to ICP students about spring crops.

Their first lesson begins with a scavenger hunt at Suyematsu and Bentryn Family Farm. They stop to observe pea plants and talk with a farm intern, asking questions and drawing their observations in journals.

ICP students check their scavenger hunt list.

ICP students check their scavenger hunt list.

The group enjoys observing and talking about the details of the plants: the leaves, tendrils (and their purpose), size, and color. As the group walks to Morales Farm, they learn more about the history of area farms and the work the farmers do. Once there, the preschoolers discuss the purpose of a greenhouse and prepare to plant pea seeds, by measuring the distance between rows and marking where the seeds will go.