The fun begins again! We hope to see all of you out there. Many thanks for being such wonderful supporters of the great kids of Walker Jones and their urban farm!
Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page
The Walker Jones community is happy to announce that Sarah Bernardi has accepted our offer to become our new Farm Operations Director. Sarah’s background in creative educational program design, her passion for teaching healthy eating habits and her love for growing has led her to Walker Jones where she hopes to help lay the foundation for a strong farm to school integration by supporting the continued development of the farm into a space that combines a high yield crop for the community with an inviting and inspiring place where people of all ages can grow and learn together.
Sarah is a Nationally Board Certified teacher with 10 years of public elementary school teaching experience. At Bancroft Elementary, she coordinated the garden program and farm to school activities and participated in their partnership with the White House garden. She directs School Garden Initiatives at DC Greens, a non-profit that focuses on seed-to-table education and supports farm to school initiatives with proceeds from the Glover Park-Burleith Farmers’ Market. Sarah does programmatic consulting for the D.C. Farm to School Network, helped to craft and advocate for the Healthy Schools Act, and developed a school garden program pilot for DCPS. She has been a strong advocate for making gardens fully staffed components of all public schools.
We are looking forward to all of the energy and creativity that Sarah will certainly bring to the Farm at Walker Jones at the same time we are looking back with gratitude to our founding director, John Cochran, who has left to pursue other interests. Welcome Sarah!
(photo taken at The Edible Schoolyard)
We were very excited to find out recently that Walker Jones had been selected as a 2011 RiverSmart school. The RiverSmart program is a part of the District Department of the Environment, and focuses upon making greening projects possible for DC schools. These innovative schoolyard greening projects focus on incorporating landscape design principles that create habitat for wildlife, emphasize the use of native plants, highlight water conservation, and retain and filter stormwater runoff. They have the added benefits of an outdoor classroom that supports effective teaching practices and promotes student learning.
Creating wetlands, ponds and meadows or planting trees, shrubs and gardens can add beauty and diversity to a site, while fostering ecological awareness and “big picture” thinking in those who participate. These projects will teach gardening and community service skills, improve the aesthetics of school grounds, and build student and community pride.
In addition to installing new schoolyard green space, the program provides teachers with the training and resources they need to use their conservation site to teacher lessons based on the DCPS Standards. The garden will serve as a permanent outdoor learning tool for teachers to provide hands-on learning in many areas of study.
Walker Jones Education Campus hosted the first of four teacher education events this past week for all the schools accepted into this year’s program. As our green team now begins focusing on which projects we would like to develop on our campus, we are thrilled at the number of opportunities we have to choose from and the promise each holds for the students. The team is comprised of two RiverSmart veterans, librarian Susan Wagner and physical education teacher Melvin Thomas, as well as outreach director and WJ Farm point person Frances Evangelista, math teacher John LaRue, science teacher Camille Locke, and English teacher Amy London.
The farm will be a presenter for “Making Community Gardens Flourish: Growing Communities, Raising Healthy Kids” at Rooting DC 2011 on Saturday, February 19 at Coolidge High School. This panel will discuss the process of bringing community stakeholders together to start a community or school garden. Issues discussed will include land acquisition, spreading the word, negotiating the political landscape, and the community outreach necessary to sustain and expand your program. Catch us in the morning and then stick around all day for a great lineup of panels and activities. More info here.