Earlier this week, students from Madison Middle School Arthur Holden Leadership Institute (AHLI) went on a field trip to Lake Metroparks Farmpark, a working farm and education center in Kirtland, OH. This field trip allowed students to gain a better understanding about the plants they will use when they plant gardens in Spring 2022.
First, students were given a tour of the garden by two master gardeners from Lake Farmpark. They also visited the large compost area and measured the temperature and pH levels of the compost piles that would soon be ready for use by the Metroparks. Students then learned about the different plants that might do well in small garden plots, such as beans versus corn. Additionally, students learned about companion planting, which is the practice of growing different plants together - for example, marigolds grow well with tomatoes. Finally, students were paired up and selected plants for their future garden plots, which were then collected and will be planted by students in the MMS garden next May.
The Arthur Holden Leadership Institute (AHLI) is a three-year program that focuses on a different environmental issue - water, soil, and energy - each year. Students join the Institute during sixth grade, where they begin to learn about issues and prepare to plant their garden. In seventh grade, students plant the garden, which provides fresh vegetables and ultimately supplies the community project that eighth grade members create and execute to reflect on what they learned and help educate others. Students meet one hour once a month after school, and take a monthly field trip to various locations.