Planning Pays Off

Elementary science teacher Steve Tomsik feels that it is his primary job to get his students into the garden as much as possible because of the great extensions between knowledge and exploration.

Right Side Box: 

Nutrition Program Highlights

  • The school now maintains a partnership with Wellness in the Schools, an organization that has facilitated a gradual change in lunch meals, and provides chefs and cooking interns who work with cafeteria staff to prepare healthy lunches. The lunch menu now offers freshly prepared meals (including an occasional special lunch of grass-fed beef) with a daily salad bar. They have also held parent-lunch days to show how the lunches have improved.

  • The school sponsors a Harvest Day each year in October to showcase food harvested from the garden. Students enjoy a special lunch (with available garden produce), tasting tables, visits from local farmers, and Garden to School Café programs. Pictures of the Harvest Day can be seen on the school’s website.

How Sweet It Is

There are many stories explaining the discovery of the sugary-syrup made from the sap of maple trees.  One of the most well-known is the Legend of Chief Woksis whose wife reportedly discovered maple syrup while preparing venison (deer meat) during the “Season of the Melting Snow.” The legend recounts:

Maple Syrup, Step-by-Step

- Maple Syrup
- Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall. A girl and her grandfather tap sugar maple trees and tell the story of making maple syrup. ISBN: 978-0688149079


1. Hold up a bottle of maple syrup and ask the students if they know how syrup is produced?

2. Tell the students that syrup comes from trees, but do not tell them how it is extracted.

Be the Tree

- Tree cookies, for each student (can be cut from tree trimmings or available in bulk from nature suppliers like Nature-Watch)


The tree trunk and its main branches have five key parts, as illustrated by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Learning with Wreaths

Like many other garden-related projects, wreaths represent a simple activity that can be modified for multiple grade levels and can be used to teach many concepts related to environmental science, math, design, and history.

Mountains as Water Sources - Himalayan Expedition Part 2

One of Nepal's largest development projects is taking place just upstream from where you crossed the Arun River. It is called the Arun III Hydroelectric Project. What does hydroelectric mean? Since most of the valleys in Makalu-Barun drain into the Arun, developers are trying to harness the waterpower of this river to generate electricity for the people of Nepal. How will this project affect local people? How will it affect the environment?

Mountains as Water Sources - Himalayan Expedition Part 1

Glaciers on Mount Makalu. Photo: Alton ByersWhen you climb out of the tent this morning, there is a blanket of snow on everything. How beautiful! Although you knew Mount Makalu would be covered in glaciers, you have to admit you're a bit surprised to see new snow. It is the dry season, after all. During the pre-monsoon season (April through early June) and the post-monsoon season (late September through November), the weather is preferable for expeditions.

Mountains as Water Sources - Appalachian Expedition Part 2

Evidence of mountain top mining in the Appalachian Mountains. Photo: Library of CongressYou worry that the proposed mountaintop mining activities on Blair might have an impact on the quality of these water supplies. If the top of Blair is removed to uncover the low-sulfur coal at its center, rocks and debris will be dumped in the valley. This would fill in at least part of the river, eliminating it as a water source and destroying any aquatic life that is present.

Mountains as Water Sources - Appalachian Expedition Part 1

Mountain waterfall. Photo: USDAYou wake up to the sound of a mountain stream flowing next to your campsite. When you climb out of your tent, the sun is shining. How beautiful! Late spring or early summer is the best time to be hiking in the mountains of West Virginia. The temperature at night (60°F) is perfect for sleeping and during the day (75°F), perfect for hiking. The weather during the winter is less favorable for expeditions.

Mountains as Water Sources - Andes Expedition Part 2

You worry that many of the activities you have seen during the expedition might have an impact on the quality of these water supplies. So far, you've seen land cleared for farming and grazing, trees cut for firewood and charcoal, and plants removed during resource mining. You've even seen the bare land that is left behind. Without vegetation, erosion must be taking place, washing soil into the rivers and degrading the water supply. Are people other than those in the Andes affected by the quality of this water? Are other species affected?

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Copyright © 1999-2014 National Gardening Association     | &      |     Created on 03/15/99, 

Last updated on 09/18/2014
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