APS teachers and educators from around the state were in attendance for the 14th annual Outdoor Classroom Symposium held at Zoo Atlanta last week. The action packed day featured hands-on workshops on how to create outdoor teaching spaces, outdoor classroom resources, and a service project in Grant Park that created an edible outdoor classroom and fruit tree orchard.
Many APS schools have school gardens. Orchards are the logical next step which represents one of the best long-term investments in the Farm to School movement. Such is the case with Toomer Elementary as an orchard was installed late last month during a school wide Farm to School celebration with APS food services provider Sedexo.
Environmental educator Robby Astrove (pictured above, letf) coordinated both orchards and led the Grant Park teacher training that will help educators utilize edible plants including fruit trees, berry bushes, and herbs at schools. “Edible landscaping transforms school grounds into vibrant gathering grounds that teach, feed, and inspire,” says Astrove. “Many of the kindergarten students who planted the trees at Toomer will be enjoying figs, apples, and serviceberries long before they graduate.”
Lindsay Wyczalkowski, a third-grade teacher at Mary Lin Elementary, attended the Outdoor Classroom Symposium leading one of the hands-on workshops and attended the orchard planting. She and many of the participating teachers will return back to school poised to start outdoor classroom and orchard projects of their own. Tree-planting season is October through March; now is the time to get growing!
For more information about Farm to School, visit Georgia Organics‘ Farm to School Guide and the many workshops they promote including a fruit tree workshop on Nov. 21. Big thanks to Robbie for providing the info for this post.