Northport High School continues to expand on opportunities for students to utilize the on-campus greenhouse and outdoor space in meaningful ways. To further these opportunities, Long Island Native Ecology and Science Teacher David LaMagna was awarded a $2,000 Agriculture in the Classroom 2022 grant through the Suffolk County Soil and Water District.
The grant proposal titled “Seeding the Future of a Fruitful Environment,” will focus on the transformation of the school’s greenhouse courtyard into a living laboratory and outdoor classroom for all learners in the school community. Students will visit and engage in phenomena-based experiences and apply scientific reasoning to study Long Island native species that are of both ecological and agricultural value.
As the living laboratory and outdoor classroom come to life, District Chairperson for Science and Technology David Storch continues to look for cross disciplinary opportunities ranging from growing herbs for culinary classes to sketching opportunities for art and more.
Kaitlin Shahinian, soil technician for the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation district visited the greenhouse to present the grant check to Mr. Stoch and Mr. LaMagna. During her visit, she discussed the continued need for these initiatives throughout Long Island.
“The whole purpose of the program is because Suffolk County is becoming more urbanized; kids are losing touch with where their food comes from,” she said. “Incorporating these types of programs in schools and letting multiple subjects work and doing this kind of stuff allows the kids to get hands on experience. They get excited about growing something, making something, doing something and they know where their food is coming from and they get excited about healthier options, too.”
The science department is looking forward to utilizing this grant money to further their work developing the outdoor laboratory and classroom and teaching more students about the joys of homegrown and native plants and foods.