Friday, October 22, 2010

Grant for School Tours Available

I just saw some good news from ASAP in Asheville. They have grant money available for school tours to farms. Although my butterflies are now gone, we still offer tours here for learning experiences on the farm, including conserving natural resources, composting, recycling, and alternative energy.

Check out the following and be sure to say you want to tour the Hop'n Blueberrry farm if you are a teacher! Call Molly Nicholie at Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project for more information on the Farm Field Trip Mini-Grant Program at 236-1282 ext. 102 and hurry, deadline is Nov. 5. If chosen, you can use this into next year.

Lately I have been in anything but heaven doing the two things I hate more than raking leaves, and they are paperwork and weeding.

The paperwork has to do with the financial statement needed for my AgOptions Grant, due in a few days. Problem is the I first had to clean up my desk generating two full trashcans of accumulated old notes and papers. I am still working on it.

The weeding I figured will take me 28 more hours! I don't think I can make it through that one without going bananas. Oh well, a little at a time.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Marion 4th Grade Arrives

Susan Childers, former National Teacher of the Year, brought out her fourth grade class from Marion, NC today and they spent almost three hours here in the clear blue skies of autumn in the mountains.

While here, her kids learned about medicinal herbs and why it is important to save our native species. Then they learned a great deal about conserving energy and natural resources here and at their homes. We looked at my solar panels and at the gravity feed drip irrigation system. We also looked at the benefits of composting with compost bins and talked about vermiculture.
Then it was off to the butterfly flight house. Along the way we looked at nectar plants and saw some swallowtails sipping nectar. We also visited the milkweed experimental patch and collected monarch caterpillars.
The kids took a few caterpillars back with them to school.

Then we went inside the flight house and captured four monarchs to tag them the Monarch Watch at the University of Kansas. The kids did a countdown and released them for their trip to Mexico.

I also was able to recruit 7 future crop scientist from the group. They were all given a newly rooted blueberry bush and each was given a task of using different techniques for overwintering the plants. They will all get back to me next spring with their results.

One thing I did learn was that these kids were really smart and very interested in the farm. I was amazed at how much they knew already. I only hope that a few of them will carry on and become our next modern farmers. Thanks again to Susan Childers for helping stimulate their learning abilities.
More pictures can be seen on our Facebook page for the Hop'n Blueberry Farm