URI to host conference for educators engaged in gardening at their schools, Feb. 16

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. – January 25, 2016 – Teachers, informal educators and school administrators are encouraged to attend the School Garden 101 Conference sponsored by the University of Rhode Island’s Extension Outreach Center. The all-day event will be held Feb. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the URI Feinstein Providence campus, 80 Washington St., Providence.

According to Vanessa Venturini, the conference coordinator and URI extension educator, conference participants will learn how other school districts are engaged in garden-based learning. They will go home with lesson plans and best practices for establishing a successful school garden program.

“The conference is designed to empower educators to meet their academic and wellness goals by using outdoor classrooms,” said Venturini. “We’ve brought together the relevant players in the local school-garden scene to inspire educators to push the envelope with garden-based learning. It will be an interactive experience, with participants sharing their challenges and ideas.”

The keynote speaker will be Monique Bosch, co-founder of the Green Village Initiative in Bridgeport, Conn., who will share stories from building school gardens across her city, the challenges and joys of growing food with young people, and the effect of the school garden movement on communities nationwide. Her presentation will be entitled “Growing School Gardens: Lessons Learned in the Field.”

Other speakers will focus on best practices for Rhode Island school gardens, troubleshooting solutions to school garden program woes, and how to achieve wellness goals while also making the switch to next generation science standards. In addition, representatives of URI, the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, URI 4-H, and the University of Massachusetts will showcase “speed lessons,” a series of 20-minute hands-on lesson plans that teachers can use to educate their students in garden spaces.

For more information about the conference or to register, visit web.uri.edu/ceoc, call 401-874-2900 or email outreach@uri.edu. Breakfast and lunch will be provided through a generous donation from Whole Foods.