Alumna helps grow sustainability
The work of Debbie Mitchell, agriscience teacher at Clarke Middle School in Athens, was included as part of a column in the Washington Post online about sustainability efforts at the school.
Mitchell (MA '10, PhD '13), is a graduate of the science education program at the University of Georgia College of Education. At Clarke Middle School, she introduces students to agricultural techniques such as gardening and raising livestock. But the school's agriculture program does more than teach middle-schoolers how to water a vegetable garden—it's also a springboard for a school-wide sustainability program that helps teach students to manage their resources.
"Because most of our students live in an urban area, they lack an awareness of gardens let alone natural ecosystems," writes Wick Pritchard, a VISTA volunteer at Clarke Middle School, in a column he submitted to the Washington Post's Answer Sheet education blog.
Mitchell allocates at least 10 minutes of each class period to garden work and related activities, such as feeding the school chickens. This provides them with a more detailed contextual map on which they can more deeply understand the world around them.
"In the past, kids were able to learn about gardens in their family garden," Mitchell tells Pritchard. "But now, most of them have had no contact whatsoever with gardening. The more time they spend in the garden, however, the more they will learn about the makeup of gardens."