A Campus for Learning, Winter 2023
Students, educators, and families are exploring our snow-covered campus for learning this winter — here are a few highlights from the past months:
Changemaking Educators in Leadership Academy
Under a slate-gray sky, the waves of Lake Champlain crashing below them, eleven educators in our Education for Sustainability Leadership Academy gathered on the shore of Orchard Cove. They admired the ice formations on nearby cliffs, noting how much the landscape had changed since fall, how much fiercer the water was, how quiet the birds were. The exercise, says Director of Professional Learning Jen Cirillo, is a good metaphor for this year-long program. “We’re connecting the concept of adaptation in the natural world to leadership practice, noting what’s changing and adapting in our work, and what we may need to do differently,” explains Jen.
Each educator is, in their own way, trying to make a positive impact on the school system through this academy; educator projects include a podcast that will share inspiration and best practices for fellow teachers, a rubric for schools to evaluate how their leadership contributes to sustainability, and a farm to school lesson planning tool. The 2022–23 program concludes in May, and will welcome a new group of educators for 2023–24 beginning this summer. Apply to join us in the coming year.
Woolly Sheep to Felted Flowers Family Program
A cold winter’s day is the perfect opportunity to appreciate all the ways we use sheep's wool in our lives! Families joined educators Cat Parrish and Susie Marchand to meet our education flock, learn how their fleece is turned into the materials for warm blankets, hats, and sweaters, and craft a quick and beautiful felted flower.
Creating felted flowers is by far one of my favorite programs to lead,” shares Cat. “The combination of meeting our sheep, digging our hands deep into their wool, and then creating something from their wool is super fun for all ages. The best part is seeing everyone's proud and excited reaction as their flowers are cut open with all of their colorful petals on display!"
Did you know sheep’s wool has an oil called lanolin to protect its skin and create a waterproof “raincoat”? So when you see sheep outdoors in the rain, know their bodies are staying warm and dry! Learn more about our sheep and how their fleece is turned to wool.
Active in Winter with Orchard School
Just after an epic snowfall, fifth graders from Orchard School Elementary investigated our sugarbush and fields to find signs of active animals in the winter. Along with our education team, the students examined tracks, found food caches, and checked out some scat left behind to piece together clues. They practiced moving like animals to understand print patterns and used observational skills to identify what animals had left their signs in the snow.