The seventh and eighth grade classes are learning about hydroponics and other growing methods
Charles Nelson sits at his computer inventorying items from the Florida Farm Bureau. Charles isn’t a farmer, he’s a student in one of Andrew Medearis’ STEM classes at Buddy Taylor Middle School.
“We received a grant from the American Farm Bureau for material,” Medearis said.
Nelson says little, he is focused on his task.
The first class of the day is meeting in the wet lab, a special area designed for cooperative work, and on days like today, a place to assemble things like hydroponic growing containers.
“The Flagship students picked out the chairs and tables, and colors for the room,” Medearis said. “Teachers can sign up to use the room and the high tech equipment.”
Giva Clavizzao sits around a table with three other students as they use a wall-mounted monitor to research agricultural data. The next table is also filled with students researching seeds, growing conditions and biofuel.
“It’s a fun class because everyone gets to work together,” Giva said.
The class has only been together since the beginning of school (less than a month) but they have already started working inside the classroom and out. Out being in the field behind the school where switch grass will be grown in two heights and used for biofuel, and raised potting boxes made from donated materials for the seeds for the Hope Community garden in Bunnell.
“They understand how and why something works,” Medearis said. “ I want to show them how much it takes to make biofuel from the switch grass.”
Medearis spent his summer at Penn State, coming home with three partnerships for his classes.
The partnerships are:
APPLES - Arctic Plant Phenology Learning through Engaged Science, a project that uses Open Top Chambers and combines Dr. Eric Post's more than 20 years of Experience in Greenland with local classroom climate change projects. The APPLES project is a combined partnership with Penn State University, CSATS (Penn State's Center for Science and the Schools, The Polar Center, Fort Lewis College and UC Berkley.
NEWBio/BBEP - NorthEast Woody/ Warm Season Biomass and BioEnergy & Bioproducts Education Program, is the project the class will be growing Swtichgrass in partnership with Penn State, CSATS, and Ernst Seed Company.
“We will work very hard to get the switchgrass established this year with the hopes of being able to produce biodiesel or bioethanol as well as a bioproduct- moisture absorbing switchgrass pellets soon,” Medearis said.
The class won’t be forgetting its roots, and will continue to work with the HOPE Community Garden partnership and the Citizen Science Project with the potato, fertilizer protocol and technology trial with UF/ and the Flagler County Extension Service. The potato project incorporated the BTMS FFA and 4H.
Beachside the students will begin a dune restoration project with other BTMS groups, Old Kings Elementary, and Flagler and Beverly beaches.
Did you know?
Kentucky Blue Grass is native to Greenland.