project leader
Shari F
123 Morningside Dr.
Manhattan (Harlem)
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the project

I would like to give the children in my first grade class an opportunity to learn about and marvel at nature. I also want them to feel pride in what they grow.

My previous classes have had a box in a community garden.  In the fall, we planted bulbs so that we could have flowers in the spring.  Then in the spring, we planted vegetables which we harvested and ate during the summer and next fall. My classes did this for the last three years. Until May 4, 2012, when the building next door collasped and destroyed our community garden.  Now we have nothing!  I am being told that the garden will be rebuilt, but we have no timeline.

We are now starting a new school year and I want to try to give my new students a similar experience.  Right now whatever we do has to be confined to our classroom, but I am trying to work something out with the administration to find an area around or on top of the school as well. The bigger the area, the more and varied experiences the children can have.

the steps

We will start in September with a compost bin that we will get from the Lower East Side Ecology Center.  The children will learn about and then set up in the classroom a compost bin, worms and all.  Throughout the year we will ask the lunchroom and the families to send in appropriate scraps for the compost.

We can't grow vegetables because there is not enough light and space in the classroom. So instead, we will grow a variety of plants (leafy, flowering, and succulent) and herbs in the classroom, using the compost.

This project with the compost bin and plants will be ongoing throughout the school year.

Further, if we don't get any more space at the school to plant, I am planning to learn about and then teach my students about hydroponic plants which we will do later in the year.

why we're doing it

I always believed that I was giving my students a unique experience that they weren't getting at home or in any other class.  After our community garden was destroyed is when I truly learned how much the experience of the garden meant to them. Some of the thoughts that my students wrote at the time are the following:

  • "One house fell down and ruined everything."
  • "I miss the garden I am mad why did the building fall. I wish it didn't."
  • "I am scared of the house it fell on the boxes and all of our plants died.  I feel sad. I feel like crying right now."
  • "I am happy the time when I was there. I was happy now am sad because I miss the garden and I wish it didn't happen but it did."

Now, in the new school year, I know I can't give my new class the same experience, but I can try to give them another kind of meaningful interaction with nature.


Disbursed budget 1/25/2022:

In my science classroom I have a hydroponic tower which holds 28 plants and we are raising trout as a participant in the Trout in the Classroom program, whose purpose is to repopulate the Hudson.  In this different position, I have different needs.  
The revised budget is a combination of:
-- replacements for materials that are running low (R), 
-- back up vital equipment to prepare for worse-case scenarios  (B), and 
-- new materials we wanted, but couldn't afford (N).

For the trout tank:
From Amazon:
  APT Freshwater Master Test Kit (R)        $33.49
  Aquaclear Backup Filter (B)            $29.99

For the Hydroponic Tower:
From Amazon:
  General Hydroponics pH Up 8 oz. (R)        $10.99
  Gooing Top LED Grow light 6000K (N)    $36.95
  Seed Storage (N)                    $39.99
  3 Set Strong Plant Growing Trays (N)    $34.99

From Tower Garden:
  High Capacity Submersible Pump (B)        $59.00
  Growing Clips (30) (N)                $19.00
  Timer (B)                            $30.95

From Ace Hardware:
  Vermiculite (R)                        $ 7.59

Total:                            $302.94

TOTAL RAISED = $328.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $16.40
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $9.84


Original budget:

Worm Condo with a pound of red wiggler worms from Lower East Side Ecology Center = $55
8 plant/herb pots = 57.47
plants = 57.47
herbs = 57.47
Sunshine Systems LEDGP14 Glow Panel 14 Watt LED Grow Light  from Amazon = $52.62
2 - 8 qt. bags of Fafard Complete Potting Mix from Plant Shed = $19.98 ($9.99 each)

Total project cost = $300.00

Third party credit card processing (3%) = $9
Fiscal sponsorship (5%) = $15

Total to raise = $324


Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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