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Our Education Committee has been busy scheduling outreach events with local high school students. In January, Poolesville High School's Global Ecology program got a homecoming visit from retired faculty member Joyce Bailey- now chairing MCA's education committee. Joyce was joined by Gene Kingsbury of Kingsbury Orchard, Amanda Cather of Plow and Stars Farm, Doug Tregoning of the County Extension Office. Gene and Doug also visited a horticulture class at Sherwood High School.
As in past years, the committee is planning visits to farms in the spring, including Shepherd's Hey, Rocklands Farm and Kingsbury's Orchard. Along with trips to Ten Mile Creek. We are working with stellar MCA volunteer and elementary school teacher Kirsten Novo to adapt Ag Reserve lessons for our younger residents in line with the Ute Aminzadeh Educational Project.
This Event has been rescheduled for November 10 Register Here
From Our Friends at American Farmland Trust:
The American Farmland Trust has partnered with Montgomery County and Montgomery Countryside Alliance to their Women For The Land program this September 2018. The program is a Conservation Learning Circle for women landowners. The Conservation Learning Circle is a quick way to network with other landowners and learn how to access free conservation programs offered by state and local agencies.
2018 and our Education Program is off to a great start with "farmer in classroom" sessions underway. This year we have featured several remarkable women farmers, including Courtney Buchholtz and Amanda Cather as we bring farming and land stewardship to students at several County public high schools. Of course, our Education Committee Chair Gene Kingsbury is on hand to help provide the vantage point of a multi-generation farm, Kingsbury's Orchard. The importance of the County's Ag Reserve and how it came to be, is a key part of the lesson. In addition to in class lessons, students come on farm and in field to learn first hand about what it is to farm and how the Reserve serves to protect natural resources. The best part? The insightful and thought provoking questions from the students. Bright minds. Bright future.
We are keen on seeing that these lessons make their way to more schools throughout the County. Stay tuned!
Poolesville High School Field Trips to Black HIll Regional Park
3 years in - 31,500 Pre-k-5th Grade Students Served So Far, 51 MoCo Schools Visited
Back in 2015 MCA was proud to partner with the Montgomery County Farm Bureau on a passion dear to both organizations - connecting the next generation with education about the importance of farms and farm products. The plans for this collaboration came out of our Farming at Metro's Edge Conference in 2013. The education took the form of a big mobile laboratory, provided by Maryland Agricultural Education Foundation (MAEF), stuffed with hands-on exhibits and activities about the role of agriculture in the everyday lives of students, and a trained educator to walk kids through it.
To date, the mobile labs have visited 51 Elementary Schools in Montgomery County and 31,500 students have walked through its doors. The lab will visit every Elementary School in Montgomery County by the end of 2019. For a hands-on science field trip - you can't beat one that brings the experience to the school property.
The lab experience is getting rave reviews from teachers and students:
"First of all our kids loved it, the teachers said the lessons were hands-on and supported age appropriate science curriculum."
"Thank your for organizing an incredibly awesome experience that I didn't know existed. "
"The 5th graders extracted DNA from a banana and were really excited about it."
Poolesville's Sugarland Community, a freed slave community established in the late 1800s, will be contributing 7 pictures to the permanent collection of the new African American Museum - set to open in late September. It is so thrilling that this community will be featured. Community members have worked hard to preserve their fascinating history. News Coverage Here.
by Caroline Taylor
Joyful. That sums up how students, educators, parents, Ag Services staff and MCA feel about participating in our expanding and collaborative educational outreach program. Getting kids out of the classroom and on farms and natural resources has sparked their intellectual growth and curiosity.
by Caroline Taylor
MCA is honored to be part of the Mobile Ag Science Lab effort with the Farm Bureau- every single MoCo elementary school will have a visit from this education resource on wheels. Read the press release below.
by Caroline Taylor
What great radio coverage for one of the gems of the Reserve: The Seneca Schoolhouse Museum on River Road north of Potomac.
by Kristina Bostick
What has MCA done for me lately? Well...
Our Shared Environmental Resources
Supporting a Strong Ag Sector
Connecting New and Expanding Farmers with Land
Strengthening the Producer Community with a Listserve and Summits
Successfully Pushing for a New Farm Pilot Program
Proud Lead Organization of the Farming at Metro's Edge Conference
Supporting A proposed year-round daily farmers market in North Potomac
Connecting farmers with new opportunities under the new County Zoning Code
Producing "Growing Legacy" film about the Reserve for students and the public
Creating an Ag Reserve Candidate Questionnaire/Voter Resource
Creating an Ag Education Pilot - 180 students reached so farHelping to Found the MoCo Food CouncilKeeping Monocacy Elementary Open
No Commercial Recreation or Camps in the Ag Reserve
No Sewer Extension for Mega Churches
Battling Back Plans for Massive Cell Towers
Currently working on supporting new farm businesses and expansion of sourcing local farm products in County stores/restaurants. We are pushing to add to our farmland inventory for the LandLink program. Our education initiative has expanded and we are working with MC Farm Bureau to secure funding for mobile ag science lab for the use of the County's elementary schools. How about that! Every elementary school student should have exposure to what farming is all about and why our Ag Reserve is so special.
And the list goes on and on... help us add more victories to this list- join MCA - a yearly membership is just $25
by Kristina Bostick
A smile flashes over MCA Education Committee Chair Gene Kingbury's face as their hands go up. The students at Poolesville High School have been listening as Gene explained how his family's fifth generation orchard grows (over 6000 trees!) and innovates. "How did you develop your new peach variety and do you patent it?" "Can you grow your fruit without chemicals?" Greg Glenn of Rocklands Farm offers a lesson in best practices in livestock raising by bunching students between desks with little room to move about. Huddled together and getting hot and uncomfortable, they get the picture... quickly
Local Food Connection
Community Supported Agriculture
Restaurants & Retail
Artists of the Reserve
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
P.O Box 24, Poolesville, MD 20837
301-461-9831 • email@example.com
MCA is proud to announce that we have been once again recognized as one of the best small charities in the D.C. region by Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. A panel of 110 expert reviewers from area foundations, corporate giving programs, and peer non-profit organizations evaluated 270 applications.
MCA is known as an effective and innovative non-profit whose efforts to preserve and promote Montgomery County’s nationally recognized 93,000 acre Ag Reserve have brought increased public and governmental support of local food production and farmland and open space preservation. Most importantly, MCA’s efforts are putting more farmers on the ground and keeping them there.