The number of school gardens is on the rise as Georgia teachers search for engaging ways to educate students about their food.School gardens are also gaining momentum because they help teachers meet science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education requirements, according to Becky Griffin, community and school garden coordinator for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.“You use a lot of division and recording to plant a garden, and some teachers have students grow their crops in geometric shapes,” Griffin said.English teachers may have their students read a book and then plant the crops or flowers that the book mentions, Griffin said. History teachers have their students plant colonial gardens filled with crops that might’ve been on first President George Washington’s dinner table.School gardens are an excellent educational tool, but they are also a lot of hard work. To be successful, the garden project has to be supported by the school board, teachers, parents and community leaders.“If the garden is being planned and planted by just one teacher, it’s going to fail,” Griffin said. In Dougherty County, Georgia, UGA Extension agent James Morgan has helped to establish gardens in 13 of the county’s 14 elementary schools. Morgan’s gardens have won Golden Radish Awards, an honor presented annually to schools where teachers and personnel are doing extraordinary work in terms of farm-to-school programs. The award is presented by the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia Organics and UGA Extension. To date, Morgan’s gardens have earned two gold radishes, along with a silver and a bronze.“These school gardens would not be successful if not for the buy-in from the principals and school liaisons,” Morgan said. “And the gardens wouldn’t be possible without the support of our teaching garden planning team.”The planning team meets each fall to begin planning the gardens. Team members are then assigned to schools, where they meet with the principal and the school’s garden liaison.“First, we have to see if weeding needs to be done, if wood for beds needs replacing or if soil needs to be added,” Morgan said. “The liaison then works with the kids or volunteers to weed the beds. During this time, we place an order for transplants and schedule soil drop-off and planting times.”Each garden has seven raised beds where students grow lettuce, collards, kale, spinach, scallions and radishes. After planting, the planning team and students monitor the school gardens throughout the growing season. “In the event of cold weather, I have someone in the school nutrition office send out an email to all the liaisons letting them know how to protect the plants from cold weather,” Morgan said.As the plants get close to maturity, Morgan visits the schools and shows the students when to harvest the radishes or how to harvest the leaves from the leafy vegetables so that the plant will continue to produce more leaves. When the students harvest their vegetables, the school cafeteria staff incorporates them into each school’s holiday lunch, he said.Team member organizations include Southwest Georgia Master Gardener Extension Volunteers, UGA Extension, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, Southwest Georgia Project, Dougherty County Farm Bureau, City of Albany Recreation and Parks Department, Dougherty County Child Nutrition Program, and Georgia Region V Soil and Water Conservation District.To help Georgia teachers with school gardens, UGA Extension and the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture offer training for teachers. At the training sessions, teachers learn about selecting crops that are in season during the school year, testing garden soil before planting, composting, attracting beneficial insects and controlling pests using a minimal amount of pesticides. Since 2015, 150 teachers have been trained at workshops held in Athens, Atlanta and Griffin, Georgia.For more information on this program, visit ugaurbanag.com/gardens/teacher-training.
A Virginia woman named Laurie Cooksey fell victim to a bear attack in Bath County, Virginia’s Douthat State Park over the weekend.The attack, which took place after a day of hiking and canoeing with three of her four children, left Laurie with 14 stitches in her back and 14 more in her leg.Cooksey and her children were headed down the Tuscaroa Overlook trail when they encountered an adult black bear. By the time they saw the bear it was only ten yards away, peering at them from behind a nearby tree.According to Cooksey, she and her children began retreaing upon seeing the bear, but it caught up with her first.“He was fast. He was just so fast,” Cooksey later told the Richmond Times Dispatch while recovering from wounds sustained during the attack. “I’m very thrilled that it was me and not (my children)…I’m really grateful.” Bear attacks are becoming more and more frequent as human development continues to encroach on wildlife habitat and National Parks like Yellowstone see steady influxes of tourist from around the world.Do you think a bear that kills or injures a human in its natural habitat should be put down? Let us know in the comment feed. Photo Courtesy of Laurie Cooksey Fortunately, Cooksey was able to knock the bear off balance with several kicks, but not before sustaining severe bite wounds.“The saving grace was it was raining hard and the leaves were slippery,” she said.After freeing herself from the bear’s grasp, Cooksley made a run for it and regrouped with her children at which point the bear approached the family one more time. At this point, Laurie’s 19 year-old son Ellis intervened.He advised the group to “get big” and “get loud”, tactics he’d learned during a recent trip to Yosemite National Park.The strategy worked, the bear withdrew, and Laurie Cookesy was later treated and discharged from LewisGale Hospital Alleghany on Saturday night.According to the Richmond Time Dispatch the “Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation law enforcement officers, along with a district wildlife biologist, tracked the bear to a location near the site of the incident and humanely killed the bear around 4 a.m. Sunday.”They are still unable to say with absolute certainty whether or not the bear they euthanized is indeed the black bear that attacked Laurie. Genetic testing is excepted to return within a week that will determine the bear’s true identity.Back in June, the wrong bear was euthanized as retribution for the attack of a 16-year-old hammock camper in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.This Virginia attack comes on the heels of a Grizzly bear attack that left one hiker dead and “partially consumed” in Yellowstone National Park on Friday. This attack occurred near Yellowstone’s Lake Village on a hiking trail popular with tourists and employees who live and work near the Lake Yellowstone Hotel.The victim, 63-year old Lance Crosby, was an experienced hiker and Montana native who had worked in Yellowstone going on five seasons. The grizzly bear and one of her cubs believed to be responsible for his killing have been captured. If it is determined that the captured sow is indeed the bear that mauled and consumed Crosby it will likely be euthanized and its cub placed in a zoo.
It has been so quiet in the tropics that we almost forgot it was hurricane season in Florida.Now there are rumblings that a named storm could pop up fueled by the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico by the end of the week.According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, there’s a 80% chance that a tropical depression could form by the end of the week in the Gulf of Mexico near Florida. If it develops into a storm it will be named Tropical Storm Barry. The increased odds that it will develop are due to warm water temperatures near the panhandle. The system is expected to bring us wet weather.
Facebook1Tweet0Pin0 Easter weekend is the start of Spring Break for most Thurston County public schools. As families prepare to take a few days off, turn to ThurstonTalk’s event calendar for all the activities around town. Use our *new* Kids & Family section to find a new place to play or rediscover an old favorite haunt. Using the Activities drop down menu, you can sort for either indoor or outdoor stories.Here is a recap of the Easter Egg Hunts happening around Olympia this weekend. For more specific details, click here.Friday, March 29 –Adult Flashlight Egg Scramble at the RAC at 8:00 pmSaturday, March 30 –10:00 am – Westfield Capital Mall10:00 am – Dog Easter Egg Hunt at the RAC10:00 am – New Apostolic Church11:00 am – Tumwater High School11:00 am – Bucknell Field in Lacey12:00 pm – South Sound Church1:00 pm – Lattin’s Country Cider Mill & FarmSunday, March 312:00 pm – Priest Point Park2:00 pm – South Sound ManorOther events happening this weekend include:Dig razor clams in Ocean Shores this weekend.Play outside on Saturday, in honor of the 100th birthday of the Washington State Parks system.Visit the WET Science Center.Gather ideas for activities during Spring Break.Attend a performance at Olympia Family Theater or Harlequin Productions. Both local theater groups have shows throughout the weekend.Catch a roller derby bout between #1 Oly Rollers and #2 San Diego Starlettes on Sunday evening.ThurstonTalk aims to be your source for positive information and events happening in Olympia. If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at [email protected] For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.