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Growing in Green Thumbs

Growing in Green Thumbs  thumbnail120097

NHS' state-of-the-art greenhouse, which was designed and constructed last summer as part of the district’s Bond Referendum, is officially up and running, and ready for the upcoming school year. The structure includes automated ridge ventilation, gas heating and humidification, and three-stage evaporative cooling to support 600 square feet of indoor growing space. Construction was completed this winter, and the botanical research and life science lab that was piloted this past spring was a huge success.

“Learning to formulate and carry out inquiry based scientific investigations has become increasingly important for students,” said District Chairperson of Science, Technology & Engineering Education David Storch. “With hands-on opportunities to learn about topics like matter and energy in organisms and ecosystems, stability and biodiversity, and interdependent relationships in ecosystems, students gain a deeper understanding of natural systems and can actively care for them.”

In the first few months of use, the greenhouse was quickly bursting with experimentation and research. A few projects included students observing and testing nitrogen run-off, learning “square foot gardening” techniques, and growing geraniums from seed to bloom. Students were very proud of their work, and according to Greenhouse Coordinator Janet Byler, were constantly asking to go back out into structure.

“Having this greenhouse not only shows that we value giving our students first-hand experience,” said Ms. Byler, “but that we, as a community, value our local environment and want focus on solving real world problems and phenomena!”

Members of the high school science department hope to integrate use of the greenhouse into the curriculum this upcoming year and in years to come, further aligning the district with the newly adopted NYS Science Learning Standards (NYSSLS).

“We hope for it to become a focal point where kids can gather and see science in action, and not just from a textbook,” said Ms. Byler.