The Nikolaevsk School hydroponics program has held up its role in the school’s focus on project-based learning. The first year of operation culminated in multiple harvests, hands-on lessons for students and fundraising events that have helped to ensure the continued welfare of the program.
“This is the first stepping stone of offering lots of things to the kids,” principal Matt LaHue told Homer News.
The Nikolaevsk School student council conducted a bake sale at the Virl “Pa” Haga VFW Post 10221 in Anchor Point in March and another at the Anchor Point Greenhouse in early May, where they also sold mixed greens and sprouts harvested from the hydroponics grow units. Students also made and sold spring rolls using harvested crops as another fundraising method. The money raised from these and similar projects was put back into the hydroponics program through the creation of a dedicated hydroponics fund within the school’s budget, according to LaHue.
“Anything we make off of sales will continue to support the program in the future,” LaHue said. “It’s great because I think this is something that can be used for years.”
In addition to fundraisers that benefit both the hydroponics program and student council, herbs and other crops harvested were used in various activities for middle and high school students in the school’s home economics and culinary arts program, according to teacher aid Veronica Jones. Students made an entirely from-scratch noodle soup in May using harvested ingredients. The program also extended into educational activities such as studying home-grown bacteria and fungi cultures and learning about vermiculture.
“This was a great opportunity for students of all ages to experience home-grown goods and how they can be used in different activities and healthy living,” Jones wrote to Homer News.
The program is temporarily paused for the summer but will restart when school resumes in the fall. Students took home plants of their choosing to continue growing them on their own, with the remaining plants being given away to community members to be planted in their greenhouses and continue growing over the summer, according to LaHue.
“The elementary students were very excited to participate in growing plants and implementing it at home,” Jones wrote to Homer News.
The hydroponics program will start again from seed in the fall.
“They’ll have all year long, so they can have multiple growing seasons next year,” LaHue said.
LaHue credited the students for their enthusiastic involvement, as well as Nikolaevsk School staff and community volunteers, in the program’s current success.
“I’m extremely proud of the kids, they’ve done an amazing job,” he said. “This wouldn’t have worked without the help of Lisa Robbins, Olivia Tipikin, Veronica Jones, and all the community members that participated as well.”
For more information on activities and events that the Nikolaevsk School hydroponics program conducted this year, visit facebook.com/NikolaevskSchool.