2013-12-06 / Community

Student Gardeners At Goldie Maple


Students transform the school’s grassy lawn into a living science classroom. Students transform the school’s grassy lawn into a living science classroom. “Check out my worms!” said a third grader at Goldie Maple Academy, as she holds open a bin containing shredded newspaper, coconut husk, fresh food scraps, and dozens of live worms.

Elizabeth Gilchrist, owner of Veggie Island, had just finished leading a composting workshop with John Nolan’s third grade class, and the students were proud to show off their new knowledge of soil production.

The Rockaway Waterfront Alliance gardening program at Goldie Maple has continued to thrive this fall, with a diverse hands-on curriculum that ranges from nutrition to architecture and engineering. The program has transformed the school’s grassy lawn into a living science classroom.

Aside from building their own raised beds for crops, GMA students built seating in their garden with help from Alana Fitzgerald, using an ancient cement like material called cobb, then built a wooden shelter for their cobb couch with help from Heather Kramer and Cecilia de Corral of Arts in Parts.


The young gardeners of Goldie Maple Academy get hands on learning experience in the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance’s gardening program. The young gardeners of Goldie Maple Academy get hands on learning experience in the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance’s gardening program. Recently, Gilchrist led a nutritious smoothie workshop with fresh local fruits and vegetables, then she finished the fall session with a field trip to Edgemere Farm, where students had the opportunity to dig and plant various bulb species in an urban farm just minutes from their school. Matt Sheehan, owner of Edgemere Farm, looks forward to more educational programming on the premises, stating that “The farm is a great campus for authentic project based learning.”

RWA program manager, Blaze Jones- Yellin added “There are so many elements to a successful garden. RWA is striving to incorporate a wide range of topics and disciplines into the gardening program, and all of our programming, so that students can enjoy diverse educational experiences.”

Organizers gave special thanks to Jill Moore and Police Athletic League for supporting the RWA gardening program at Goldie Maple Academy.

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