On June 2, CHAH students ranging from sixth through eleventh grade took the Governors Island ferry to an urban learning garden, maintained by GrowNYC. This trip brought together current and future Advanced Placement Environmental Science students and the Food Ambassadors, CHAH's healthy cooking club. They spent the day exploring topics in ecology, environmental stewardship, and the use of garden-fresh produce in our daily meals.
One section of the tour involved harvesting radishes and arugula for a spicy and crunchy salad. Students snipped off arugula leaves and dug up radishes and ate them only minutes later. Talk about fresh!
Another tour guide led students through the garden, discussing the interaction between bugs and plants. We learned that worms, bees, and ladybugs are our friends, while aphids and caterpillars are our garden foes. APES students impressed the tour guides with their knowledge of ecosystems.
The compost station allowed students to smell, feel, and see compost in its multiple stages. Students learned about the interaction of carbon and nitrogen as well as bacteria and fungi in creating a nutritious addition to gardening soil. Food Ambassador and seventh grader Lisbeth P. said, "We should start saving our food scraps when we cook in Food Ambassadors so it can be turned into compost." Great idea, Lisbeth!
Finally, students got their hands dirty at the planting station. They helped transplant herbs from small containers that had been in a greenhouse to outdoor planters where they can soak in the sun.
Students had a great trip and hope to visit again soon!