NFA’s Sachem campus has an educational greenhouse which helps students become more independent in gardening, to learn hands-on, and to help those in need because of the vegetables the students donate.
Joshua Fish, a science teacher at Sachem, plants and maintains the greenhouse with students in his classes.
“I think the green house is very important because it teaches people how to grow food really cheap. Norwich is considered a food desert which means there’s a long distance between homes and a grocery store or homes and farms. So learning how to grow food at home at a low cost is very beneficial for these students, because once you know how to grow something it’s easy to grow something else,” said Fish.
Nancy Jones, an intervention specialist, believes students work best with the greenhouse experience.
“It’s more hands-on, and as you know, as a student if you do something that’s hands-on you’re definitely going to remember it more,” said Jones.
Jones isn’t the only one that thinks hands-on learning is beneficial.
Eric Kelly, a twelfth grade student at Sachem also believes that hands-on learning is helpful.
“For me personally, I believe I’m a very hands-on learner, so being able to actually perform things I can do in the future gets that muscle memory down now and really helps with my learning,” says Kelly.
The greenhouse teaches students many things such as planting, landscaping, and cleaning plants.
“The other day I learned how to groom plants and we learned about landscaping. I didn’t know different seeds need different depths that need to be planted before I got here,”said Kelly.
Nasiah Figueroa, a twelfth grader at Sachem, thinks the greenhouse is a great place to start learning about lawn care.
“If you want your yard to look nice and clean then this is a good spot to learn,” said Figueroa.
According to Jones, students don’t just get to use the greenhouse during the school year, but they can use it in the summer too–and they can donate the vegetables they grow.
“For the summer program that we run every year for four weeks during summer school time, we have kids come out here and maintain the garden and grow the food. We donate the food to the soup kitchen in New London and kids get to take fresh food home,” says Jones.
While the greenhouse provides a hands-on learning experience to many students, it’s important to remember that they are also learning real-life skills to enhance their personal lives.