URI to host conference for educators engaged in school gardens, Oct. 21

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-2116 |

KINGSTON, R.I. – September 12, 2017 – Teachers, informal educators, school administrators and others are encouraged to attend the URI School Garden Conference to learn how to use school gardens as learning platforms to build student and community engagement and foster academic achievement and environmental stewardship.

The all-day conference, sponsored by University of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension, will be held Oct. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the URI Kingston campus.

According to conference coordinator Amy Cabaniss, conference participants will learn how to engage students in the school garden where curriculum concepts come alive through practical application. They will go home with lessons and best practices for establishing a successful school garden program and curriculum.

“The conference is designed to empower educators to meet their academic goals by engaging students in outdoor classrooms,” said Cabaniss. “We’ve brought together school garden experts to inspire and support educators in garden-based learning. It will be an interactive experience, with participants involved in hands-on activities and idea sharing.”

The keynote speaker will be Patricia Klindienst, award-winning author of The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans, who will speak on “School Gardens: Fertile Ground for Cultural Exchange.”

Other speakers include URI Professor John Taylor on “Connecting Cultural Diversity to Biodiversity in School Gardens” and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Cynthia Corsair on “The School Garden as a Vibrant Habitat.” The event will conclude with the sharing of school garden curricula and a visit to the farm at the nearby Compass School.

The conference registration fee is $60, which includes coffee, lunch and conference materials. Registration deadline is Oct. 13. Scholarships are available thanks to the South County Garden Club.

For more information or to register, call 401-874-2900 or email coopext@uri.edu.