HBW Gets Grant To Expand Student Usage Of Community Garden


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H.B. Whitehorne Middle School was awarded a $2,000 Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant funded by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA). Thirteen $10,000 grants and twenty-five $2,000 grants were distributed to support a variety of projects including hydroponics and aeroponics systems; outdoor school gardens; outdoor classrooms; food waste, recycling, and waste reduction initiatives including disposable water bottle reduction programs; composting and capturing biogas as a sustainable energy source; biodiversity projects and pollinator gardens; sustainability, STEAM and climate change curriculum; bike racks and maintenance stations; equitable communications training; green team capacity building and more.

Carol Thomas, a former HBW teacher who is the Community Garden manager, says that the funds granted to HBW will be used to purchase new raised garden beds dedicated solely for the use of school students in the newly expanded garden.

“Our investment and partnership with Sustainable Jersey for Schools is a testament to our commitment to support a sustainable future for our students across the state,” said New Jersey Education Association President Sean M. Spiller. “We are so proud to be part of a program that directs resources right into our classrooms and communities. Our children have inherited an environment that is fraught with problems, from climate change, and plastic and trash clogging rivers and oceans, to the extinction of many species. Our generation must do everything we can to emphasize the value of sustainability and healthy practices. Ultimately, we want our children to become engaged citizens and leaders in sustainability.” In addition to $2.25 million in grant funding and program assistance, NJEA supports Sustainable Jersey for Schools as a program underwriter.

“Congratulations grant recipients,” said Sustainable Jersey Executive Director Randall Solomon. “We hope this funding is transformational to your sustainability programs and creates a ripple effect of awareness across your community. Thank you, NJEA for providing the crucial financial support needed to make these projects possible.” An independent Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee judged the proposals.

HBW students make regular use of the Verona Community Garden, which is located behind the school. Several classes tend to garden beds raising various types of vegetables. Melissa Tempesta’s class is growing peas, carrots, tomatoes, radishes and cucumbers. They are a tremendous help with garden tasks also. The fifth grade classes utilize their growing vegetables as science and math experiments. Speech and language teacher Kathy Thomas maintains a pollinator garden with her students. They use the experience to facilitate language and vocabulary expansion.

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