Perry Local Schools has been awarded an 8x12 Greenhouse, valued at $10,000. The award came from the Greenhouse Sustainability Project, a partnership between Partners in Science Excellence (PSE), an organization that promotes and fosters inquiry-based learning within the sciences, and their newest partner, Jeff Kenyon of Arcadia Glasshouse of Madison. Kenyon is promoting learning in sustainability and building healthy communities by donating a greenhouse to each grant recipient selected through PSE.
Anna Gaser, 7th and 8th grade science teacher, along with Perry Service Learning (PSL) Instructor, Mark Soeder, applied for the greenhouse grant over this past summer. Since 2012, the PSL program has operated the PSL ErieBank Giving Garden, the largest school garden in the county, sponsored by ErieBank, which has provided over 2,750 pounds of fresh produce over the past 11 years to the local food bank, The Perry Center. Annually, over 100 students from the elementary, middle, and high schools contribute 250 hours of preparing beds, planting, watering, weeding, and harvesting.
"Our new 8x12 greenhouse will serve as a living classroom where students will cultivate not just plants, but also invaluable life skills, nurturing a deeper connection to nature and sustainable agriculture,” said Soeder. “We would like to thank Dr. Thompson (Perry superintendent), Mr. Porcello (Perry High School principal), Mr. Knisely (Perry Middle School principal), and Mrs. Stavar (Perry Elementary School principal) for supporting our grant application. Special thanks to Partners in Science Excellence along with Arcadia Glasshouse of Madison.”
To present the award to Perry Schools was Riverside teacher, Abby Hartmann and Perry teacher, Cynthia Banjoff who are co-chairs of the Greenhouse Initiative Committee and are both board members of PSE.
“I am thrilled to present Mark and Anna with the greenhouse initiative grant so that their vision of cultivating food to support our community continues to grow,” said Banjoff. “I look forward to the collaborative effort that will take place on Perry's learning campus.”
The greenhouse will eliminate Perry’s need to purchase plants from local nurseries, previously a $350 expense. Moving forward, elementary and middle school students will be able to grow them from seeds within the greenhouse while learning about lifecycles, pollination, composting, greenhouse functionality, soil analysis, genetics, food sustainability, and the conservation and creation of energy.
In addition, this will enable high school students to expand the Giving Garden to further combat food insecurity for the approximately 23,290 residents of Lake County who are in need.
They hope to have the grand opening in time for their Community Green Day on April 27, 2024.