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Monday, May 27, 2024

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Woodbine Elementary School Awarded Sustainability Grant

PSEG Grant

By Press Release

WOODBINE – Woodbine Elementary School was awarded a $2,000 Sustainable Jersey for Schools capacity-building grant funded by the PSEG Foundation. Six $10,000 grants and 20 $2,000 grants were distributed to fund school and school district projects across New Jersey including a recycling program, after-school garden clubs, filtered water bottle filling stations, a pollinator garden, a recycling campaign to reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles and much more.
“We are truly grateful for PSEG and Sustainable Jersey Schools for supporting Woodbine Elementary’s edible school garden project,” stated Jessica Hartman, WES Green Team Coordinator. The entire school is excited to get out and garden! Through their contribution, our students have the opportunity to apply their classroom skills to sustainable practices.” 
“It’s a great honor to support schools and school districts that are doing the important work of integrating sustainability into student learning around the state,” stated Randall Solomon, executive director of Sustainable Jersey. “These projects have a significant impact on New Jersey’s sustainability goals and will directly benefit the students.” He extended his congratulations to all of the schools and districts that received grants.
The PSEG Foundation has contributed over $1 million in funding to the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program. “We are proud to partner with Sustainable Jersey, an organization bringing about real positive change for our state, to support and help fund projects that provide sustainable neighborhoods, economic development and STEM education,” stated Barb Short, president of the PSEG Foundation. “By supporting sustainable education in schools, we can help guide children and engage entire communities in the ways to help transform the environment.” 
Proposals were evaluated by an independent Blue-Ribbon Selection Committee. The Sustainable Jersey for Schools grants are intended to help school districts and schools make progress toward a sustainable future in general, and specifically toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification. Currently 300 districts and 745 schools have registered to work toward Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification.
Policy and/or Environmental Changes (Sustainability):
The construction of the Woodbine Elementary School edible school garden will positively impact youth and adults, school-wide and community-wide. As a result, the WES students and staff with the Woodbine Green Team and community will have the opportunity to plant, harvest, and consume healthy and “home-grown” foods.
In turn, the school hopes to instill sustainability in the community youth and adults. They hope all persons associated with this project see the numerous health benefits, share what they learn, and start their own home gardens.
All edible garden crops will be consumed by the youth and adults associated with the garden project. The students will get to harvest and consume their crops during the school day with their classmates.
The efforts of this project will continue well into the future as the students gain essential hands-on learning experiences. As the youth develop into adults of the community, they will be able to share these invaluable lessons and model self-sufficient healthy lifestyles.
Goal One – Knowledge:
Implementing an edible garden at Woodbine Elementary School will boost the school’s body and nutrition awareness curriculum. Health classes are provided to kindergarten through eighth grade. Adding the edible garden will give the students a deeper connection to what they are learning and more meaning to how they relate to the health lessons.
Knowledge and curriculum expansion and connection also occurs with science. All plant life cycles and visiting insect life cycles and pollination lessons across the grade levels are greatly improved. This edible garden transforms lessons and connections as an outdoor classroom.
Goal Two – Attitude:
Today, more than ever, mental health education is important. Through the installation of the edible school garden, positive mental health changes can happen.
Students will experience being outdoors and active in the fresh air. Working in the garden with classmates will strengthen bonds and create new interests.
This garden will allow students a fun and peaceful place to work and enjoy. Everyone can experience the satisfaction of growing, producing, and consuming their own crops. These hands-on experiences will change misconceptions about gardening, spark new interests, and essentially provide a better personal outlook.
Goal Three – Behavior:
Self control and behavior have proven to be difficult for some students to learn. This location will allow for an additional place to calm and think about one’s actions or be in a safe place.
The edible garden will also serve as a location for classmates and adults to build different partnerships and relationships in a new setting. Through providing the opportunity for deepening connections with existing partnerships and relationships, better behaviors and personal understanding can be made.

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