On Thursday, June 3, for the first time in 14 months, visitors were allowed on Old Hammondtown School property and the Mattapoisett Land Trust Education Committee designed a Grade 2 Life Science seed program, required by Massachusetts second grade curriculum – Ecosystems: interactions, energy, and dynamics through the planting and life cycle of the sunflower.
Headed up by four MLT board members, MaryAnne Buckley, Wendy Copps, Mary Cabral, retired biology teacher, and Ellen Flynn, chair of education along with ORRHS sophomore, student delegate Thomas Galavotti, and volunteer Anne Throop Johnson, the outdoor program was set up under the tent near the playground.
Mary Cabral drew the life cycle of the sunflower seed on the outdoor classroom whiteboard and all children were given a biodegradable pot labeled with their name on it so each child was socially distanced at tables in order to take soil, plant their seeds, and help install a StoryWalk around the tent.
The story text was “Plant Secrets” by Emily Goodman, illustrated by Phyllis Limbacher Tlldes. “First seed, then plant, then flower, then fruit; each stage is important, each stage has a secret hidden inside,” according to the author. Over the next few weeks, the Storywalk will be shared with Center School and then permanently installed at MLT Dunseith (Salty the Seahorse) property on route 6.
Thomas Galavotti said of the program, “Returning to OHS, where I went, was an excellent way to witness the student involvement and even better that they had previously obtained knowledge of their surrounding environment. They appeared to be passionate about the project.”
As Thomas says, many of the children are passionate about the environment, as they participate in town clean-ups, walk the MLT trails, and offer their opinions on how cutting trees to build new homes interferes with the ecosystems of wildlife right here in Mattapoisett.
“Our program was a huge success, and please visit the over 800 acres of land that the MLT protects for your enjoyment,” advises Ellen Flynn.