Letters to the Editor

Paul Banks thanks you for generosity and support of outdoor learning

On behalf of the Paul Banks Elementary school PTA, teachers, and students, I would like to extend my gratitude to the businesses and people that supported our 2nd Annual Outdoor Classroom fundraiser and BBQ last week.

ALL of our local grocery stores — Safeway, Cole’s Market and Sav-U-Mor — donated the entirety of the food we provided for free to attendees. The Lion’s Club of Homer provided hot dogs and grilling expertise. What a wonderful illustration of how our community businesses and organizations collaborate to support a worthy cause! Many thanks, Homer, for support on all levels and investing in outdoor learning.

This event was created last fall to drum up awareness and support for the Paul Banks Outdoor Classroom. This space has been heavily utilized by several teachers at PBE and this year our raffle for the Outdoor Classroom BBQ raised an additional $600 in funds for further improvements.

Paul Banks Elementary has an incredible set of educators who are passionate about bringing learning outside. All of the teachers use the Outdoor Classroom in some capacity — some almost daily!

Awareness of the concept of outdoor education is growing in Homer — a perfect setting to explore the incredible setting we call Home. Examples of “traditional” learning that can be done outdoors are counting on a “ten frame” to learn math skills and nature journaling. In addition to core academic concepts, students are participating in the hands-on construction of the classroom by sanding benches and building birdhouses.

A personal highlight of the evening was watching all the little faces popping in amongst the trees with their friends, enjoying an evening of unstructured outdoor play. Priceless!

With thanks,

Angela Head

Paul Banks Elementary School PTA Member

Dear Homer News,

My name is Emily Garrity and I am a local farmer. We farm just under 2 acres of diversified vegetables off Ohlson Mountain Road. Our team has been developing our farm for 18 years and have been shown continuous support from our community members and local agencies.

In 2023, we were awarded a $1,000 Specialized Marketing Assistance Grant from the Alaska Farmers Market Association to help with the cost of marketing and advertisement. These funds were administered by Cook Inletkeeper. With our funds, we were able to purchase a line of merchandise displaying our logo, pay for our website fee, and help pay for our CSA software subscription.

It is at the core of our mission to ensure our locally grown, nutrient-dense produce can be enjoyed by community members of all income levels. We donate weekly to the Homer Food Pantry, Haven House, as well as subsidize weekly vegetable subscriptions to individual families. Grant opportunities like these allow us to offset core costs so we can focus funds to boost our food assistance program donations each year, while simultaneously ensuring fair wages for our employees.

We feel very fortunate that agencies like the Alaska Farmers Market Association and Cook Inletkeeper are here to support our efforts.

My hope is that you will commend the work of Cook Inletkeeper and continue to acknowledge and uplift agencies that are helping get quality food to our families.

Thank you for your time,

Emily Garrity

Owner/Operator Twitter Creek Gardens LLC