What lessons can Pitney Meadows Community Farm learn from other educational farms in developing programs that effectively engage young people and teachers in farm-based education?
After nine months of research focused on ten educational farms throughout the Northeast, three Skidmore College students are able to provide answers. Sarah Hooghuis, Jerry Lerman and Sydney Randall will report their findings this Wednesday, May 3, at 11 a.m. in a presentation that the public may attend in Filene Auditorium or view as a livestream here.
Their report is one in a series of 13 "capstone" presentations that Environmental Studies and Sciences (ESS) majors will make in Filene between 8:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
Hooghuis, Lerman and Randall made site visits to the Radix Ecological Sustainability Center in Albany, Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, Vt., and New Pond Farm in Redding, Ct. They also conducted interviews by phone with representatives of seven farms, including the Stone Barns Center in Tarrytown, N.Y., Ambler Farm in Wilton, Ct.; and Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, Me.
They also surveyed K-12 teachers throughout Saratoga County to learn their degree of interest in farm-based education and steps Pitney Meadows might take in designing its programs to be of maximum help in the classroom.
In evaluating each of the farms they studied, the students considered such quantitative criteria as staff size, number of programs and enrollment, and annual expenditures. They also examined such qualitative criteria as community engagement, strength and commitment to a vision in implementing new programs, professional development, and modes of program promotion.
Advising the students has been Andrew Schneller, visiting assistant professor of environmental studies and sciences. When they complete their project, the students will present a package to Pitney Meadows that includes all of their data and recommendations.
Below is the full program of presentations. A reception will follow at 12:30 p.m.
8:45 Introduction and History of Capstone
9:00 Waste to Energy: A Feasibility Study of Implementing an Anaerobic Digester in Saratoga Springs, NY; Emma Hitch and Meaghan Flanagan
9:15 The Locavore’s Delight: A Local Food Systems Assessment of the Capital Region; Amanda Greenlee, Jacqueline Knoll, and Colleen Sullivan
9:30 Farming the Eddies: In-stream prevention of Lake and Coastal Eutrophication; Chris Malvicini and Porter Hunt
9:45 Analyzing the Carbon Footprint and Economics of Paper Towels vs. Electric Hand Dryers: Innovative Solutions for Reducing Waste at Skidmore College; Luc Chatelain and Michael Reeves
10:00 On the Trail: A Path towards a Better Trail System in Saratoga County; Caroline Tuttle, Jacqueline Caramel, Jacob Lightman
10:15 Put a Price on it: Measuring the Ecological Value of a Diverse Landscape; Kristi Sills, Andy Frank, Rebecca Halter
10:30 The Missing Link to Smart Growth in Malta, New York; Manuela Tauscher, Zia O’Neill, Paty McGuire
11:00 Sowing the Seeds for Farm Based Education and Agriculture: Action Research with Pitney Meadows Farm; Jerry Lerman, Sarah Hooghuis, Sydney Randall
11:15 Outcomes of Place Based Environmental Education and Art in the Hudson River Watershed; Shannon Post and Julia Adelman
11:30 Climate Change in the Battenkill: A Case Study on Foraging in Blacknose Dace; Lauren Sidor and Jamila Roth
11:45 Are Fungi the Future for the Bioremediation of Contaminated Soils? Tsering Choden and Nate Van Meter
12:00 Noon Pipe Dreams and Crude Proposals: Community Political Engagement with the Pilgrim Pipeline in the Hudson Valley; Sarah Lasky, Bella Bennett and Christina Battiste
12:15 Invisible & Insidious: Water Contamination in Hoosick Falls, New York; Anika Verma, Maya Cohn, Ella Sampou
12:30 Concluding Comments