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Howell Middle School South dedicates greenhouse as part of a ‘learnscape’

HOWELL — In 2019, Howell Middle School South, Ramtown-Greenville Road, was awarded a Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant in the amount of $10,000 titled, “Feeding Howell’s Minds and Bodies.”

Unlike other outdoor classrooms and school gardens, this grant seeks to create
community partnerships and promote global stewardship, according to a press release.

“It is essential that we all become participants in our community; sustainability involves lifelong lessons in global collaboration that begin with our students as the seeds
of change,” said Josh Langenberger, a science teacher at the school and the grant coordinator.

The grant establishes a community connection between Howell Middle School South students, Howell’s Organic Community Garden and the food pantry in a “seed to table” transition, according to the press release.

The students’ role is to participate in the growth of seedlings that are then donated to the community garden as part of the “Plant a Row to Feed the Hungry” national program.

The dedication of a greenhouse at the school was held on June 6.

The community garden will nurture the seedlings into productive plants, harvest and donate vegetables to six food pantries in the community, providing fresh, nutrient-dense produce to residents in a climate of diminishing resources, according to the press release.

Andy Vales, the community garden coordinator, said, “It all starts because someone planted a seed.”

Some of those seeds are now being planted by Howell Middle School South students and will help the community garden to exceed last year’s donation of nearly 3,000 pounds of fresh produce.

“The actions of one make a difference, but the actions of man make it sustainable,” Langenberger said.

The nature of this created “learnscape” encourages global stewardship with support from the school’s Eco-Action club, directed by social studies teacher Steve Milkowski.

Danielle Gianelos is a science teacher and continuity expert ensuring global stewardship opportunities grow with the school’s students.

Mike Moorman, technology education teacher, general contractor and project engineer, transformed the physical “learnscape” into reality.

The school staff thanked the Howell K-8 School District Board of Education, and the Howell Middle School South administration, staff and community members who have contributed in a variety of capacities to support the growth and the continued expansion of the “learnscape.”

Howell Superintendent of Schools Joseph Isola said, “It is amazing to observe our students building a generational legacy of global stewardship; a critical role in our school and our community.

“Accomplishments such as this don’t happen by accident. We have advanced this work due to the outstanding leadership at Howell Middle School South and so many fine educators who supported this vision and our students,” Isola said.

Sustainable Jersey for Schools supports New Jersey public schools and districts, awarding grants funded by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA).

Through 2022, the NJEA has provided $1.75 million to support a sustainable future for children across the state through the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program, according to the press release.

In addition to the grant funding, NJEA supports Sustainable Jersey for Schools as a program underwriter.

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