Your School Garden, STEM, and UGA Extension

The Georgia Department of Education’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) day is May 6th.  In anticipation of that day we want to make sure that schools know what STEM resources are available to them through UGA Extension.

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According to information from Gilda Lyon, state STEM coordinator, there are 28 STEM certified schools in Georgia at this time.  There will be many, many more applying for certification.  The certification process is very involved and once a school is certified it will need to be recertified every five years.

So you are a school teacher and your school is a certified STEM school.  How can UGA Extension help?

Your UGA Extension office can assist with horticulture or gardening concerns, especially if your school garden is the focus of your STEM efforts.   Make sure you are in contact with your local agent.  Get on the office email list so you are aware of workshops and trainings he/she may be offering.   Bookmark your Extension office webpage.  School garden teacher trainings are offered each summer.  Check out the UGA School Gardens Resource page which is full of lesson plans.  Basically, for any technical horticulture issue UGA Extension has you covered!

Your school needs to have business, community and post-secondary education partnerships involved in instructional programming.  Your local UGA Cooperative Extension agent should be able to help here.  For example, if a grade is learning about composting, the Extension office staff may be able to help students design a compost system.

Extension agents may have contacts in agriculture or landscape industry that could be useful to STEM teachers as you build your business partnerships.

In the high school certification process the students must complete an internship or a capstone project.  Agriculture is listed as an option here as well as food science and nutrition.  You may have difficulty in finding businesses for internship opportunities.  Your Extension office could help by offering internship opportunties.

The field of agriculture is the original STEM program.  Science, technology, engineering, and math – all found in a garden!  Let UGA Extension help you!

Happy Gardening!

Becky Griffin

1 thought on “Your School Garden, STEM, and UGA Extension”

  1. Paul Pugliese, the ANR agent in Bartow County is working with the school system there to incorporate health and nutrition education, environmental education, agricultural awareness, and local food into the experiential learning objectives at local schools. They are calling it LEAF (local, environmental, agricultural, food) to STEM.

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