Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Welcome Back to School!

With the arrival of September, the smell of chalkboards and classrooms is in the air. This past Monday was Labor Day, and most elementary and high schools in the US start the week before or after the long weekend. In honor of all the kids heading back to school this week, AFS takes a look back over the last year to see what students learned through Farmer-to-Farmer and NSP.
Artwork from Robin's Bay Bee Club member

Learning started early in Jamaica. In September 2014, Tom Hebert spent some time with the Robin’s Bay Bee Club. He gave a presentation about beekeeping around the world. Tom wanted the children to see how beekeeping can differ greatly from one country to the next and how it can also share some commonalities. Halfway through the presentation, the children wanted to do some hands-on activities so they went outside to help Tom assemble materials for making a top bar hive from banana leaves. This built upon a another F2F assignment with Melanie Kirby the previous winter. She taught the kids some basics of beekeeping like how pollination works, how to recognize bee castes, how to put on a veil, how to light a smoker, and how to approach and open a top-bar hive. On her last day in Jamaica, Melanie had the opportunity to attend the bee club’s end of year party. This event was held to celebrate the second year of the beekeeping club and to recognize the children who were graduating and ready to receive their own hives!
Katherine with a group of students

In December, Katherine Wingert traveled to Nicaragua to support the new dairy consumption campaign geared towards adolescents and mothers with young children in order to promote the health benefits of consuming dairy. While Nicaragua produces more dairy than any other country in Central America, Nicaraguan dairy consumption levels are very low. In most schools in Nicaragua, there is little to no education related to basic nutrition and healthy eating. By holding focus groups with teens in the capital city of Managua, Katherine was able to gather more information that would help continue to promote policy to potentially shift the balance in favor of dairy and promote healthier eating habits among school age kids and teens.
Students engage in hands-on activities

Soon into the New Year, Rusty, Claire, and the rest of the Orner family took two weeks in February to teach 7th-9th graders about soil health and how they could influence sustainable farming methods. Rusty's specific assignment focused on reducing farmers' reliance on conventional agricultural methods by training producers in organic farming techniques and methods while Claire's assignment focused on assisting producers in identifying and strengthening opportunities to gain greater access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, and culturally appropriate foods. By starting with students of the Agros School, the Orners helped get a jumpstart on educating future farmers on the importance of these issues.

Also in February, Rick Hall and Maria Moreno traveled to Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic and partnered with the Environmental School to conduct an activity at a local elementary school to plan schoolyard habitat projects and a rain garden. Seeing the positive impact and "aha!" moments helped the kids to cultivate an interest in sustainability and its impact on everyday life.

NSP has been busy with youth engagement and education as well. Highlighted in this recent post, in Haiti students throughout the year have been attending Vendredi Vert (Green Fridays), weekly sessions on environment, sanitation and hygiene. Activities and programs have been designed to foster young leaders and promote civic engagement and responsibility among the youth.

To read more about these education efforts, click the links above, and stay tuned to see what will go on the agenda this year!

1 comment:

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