With grant funding acquired through SUNY Oneonta’s Center for Social Responsibility and Community, Assistant Professor of Biology Sean Robinson built and installed 12 vegetable grow boxes in Riverside’s K-5 classrooms in September.
Nearly 70 SUNY Oneonta biology and sociology student “box buddies” visited their assigned classrooms several times last fall to help the children plant vegetables and herbs and to present lessons about food, society, the environment and plant biology. Each lesson included group discussion and a hands-on activity, such as a game or worksheet.
As an added challenge for the fifth-graders, Robinson built hydroponics growing units and placed them side-by-side with the regular grow boxes so the students could see which type of system worked better for their plants.
“A lot of my students have never grown anything. They’ve never held a plant in their hands or been able to transplant things or eat something that they’ve grown, so this has been exciting!” said fifth-grade teacher Suzanne Johnson.
See photos of the students in action in this interactive story about the partnership