Experiential learning in animal husbandry, sustainability, farmland preservation, and environmental stewardship provides students with authentic, hands-on real-life experiences. Students will engage in activities that will challenge them to think critically about the environment and our relationship with the world around us.
- Fishing on the Page, On the Screen, and On the Water
- GSBees: Introduction to Bee Keeping
- Birds of a Feather: Wildlife Habitat on Home Winds
- The Foundation of Modern Civilization: An Introduction to Diversified Agriculture at Home Winds Farm
Angling is more than a hobby. It is a storied pursuit memorialized in great literature (The Old Man and the Sea, Big Two-Hearted River, A River Runs Through It, and dozens more) that has cemented its place in the American consciousness. It is not merely an armchair pursuit, however. It can be practiced right on our very own campus, allowing students to “cast their cares away” in Home Winds Pond, mastering some of the basics, while also learning to respect their quarry and understand the place of fish in the web of life. This Unit’s objective is to offer a hybrid experience centered around the literature of angling (with some forays into film), fishing instruction, and lessons in streamside ecology. An emphasis will be placed on allowing students to learn by doing and to bond over skillful casts, great catches, near misses, and the fabled “one that got away.”
Details: In addition to daily reading/viewing, discussions, and tutorials, students will pursue:
- Hosting a professional fly-casting instructor for a morning or afternoon of demonstration and instruction
- Connecting with the Raritan Rivershed Association for a streamside ecology lesson
- Stocking the pond for a competitive one-day trout derby with fish being filleted and donated to a local charity
- Learning to identify fish species, what they prey upon, preferred water temperatures, etc.
- Inviting guest speakers suggested by the local chapter of Trout Unlimited
- Leading a Peapack Brook stream clean-up (if a walking trip to the stream in town is permissible)
- Ending with a culminating camping experience in well-spaced, one-person tents
|Environmental Sustainability||Fernando Gomez
|$350||Accommodates Remote Learners|
Ever wonder where honey in the store comes from? Sure, we know it came from a bee, but how does the honey get from bee to jar? In this course students will receive a formal introduction to beekeeping. From setting up your bee yard to choosing equipment, students will “gear up” and get a hands-on beekeeping experience. Instructed by one of GSB’s beekeepers, students will learn about types of bee keeping, bee anatomy, hive construction, and even partake in honey tasting! Students will also construct and decorate Langstroth hive boxes that will be used in the GSB apiary.
Location/Classroom: Scout Cabin (Bee Gear location and close to hives)
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Two instructors required for safety protocols. It his highly recommended that students with known bee allergies DO NOT take this Unit.
Topics to be covered include:
- Day 1: Introduction: Types of bee keeping (commercial vs hobby), Bee anatomy, hive structure, environmental impact, equipment, and safety precautions.
- Day 2: Opening the Hive: Equipment and safety review and practice, traditional bee box inspection (weather permitting), introducing the bee box construction.
- Day 3: Langstroth Hive Kits: Building the hives, blind honey taste testing/How Honey is processed, painting the hives.
- Day 4: Visiting the Hives and Honey Pairings: studying the Home Winds hives, flow hive box inspection, honey pairings (Picnic lunch at Scout Cabin).
|Environmental Sustainability||Eileen Procaccino
You’re in the middle of a hay field in spring on Home Winds Farm. The sky is blue; a light breeze rustles the hay in front of you. Suddenly you hear what sounds like R2D2 digitally lashing out at C3-PO. You look up and see a black bird with bright white patches and an ivory hat flying overhead.
Did you know that in spring and early summer, the hay fields of our Home Winds campus are home to a relatively rare species of bird called the Eastern Meadowlark and a unique blackbird species called the Bobolink? What other wildlife, flora, and fauna treasures await us on Home Winds, both in its open fields and its wooded and river habitats, will largely be the topic of this Unit. If you like to be outside in spring, sign up to explore the Home Winds Farm campus!
Our focus will be two-fold. Part of our day will be spent learning how to observe and catalog wildlife. Whether we see it or not, animals leave evidence of their presence in each location. Another part of our day will be spent in the woodshop, designing, crafting, and building structures (screech owl houses, for instance) in order facilitate the wildlife present on our campus and to attract other species as well.
Topics to Be Covered:
- Wildlife identification: We will spend many hours outdoors in the fields, woods, pond, and stream areas of Home Winds finely tuning our ears, listening and looking for birds and animals on our campus. During the four-day period, we will host Zoom visits from birding experts in Morris and Somerset Counties. We will develop skills in observation and identification.
- Wildlife photography: Patience is your most important tool. A camera helps as well. But smartphones are also powerful devices for capturing clear and stunning images of plant life, landscapes, and wildlife. We will Zoom visit with and receive valuable advice from avid wildlife photographers who have devoted hours in the field to their craft.
- Wildlife habitat: Many students built bluebird boxes and learned a great deal about Eastern Bluebirds on our campus. Our birdhouse-building component will focus on providing nesting and shelter space for owls and waterfowl. Under the expert direction of Mr. Ort, we will construct a variety of structures to mount and post in and around Home Winds.
|Environmental Sustainability||Andy Lutz
Imagine a world without your cell phone. Now, without cars. What if you owned nothing that was made of metal? That was the case for most of human existence. Agriculture is the tool that unlocked the division of labor, which is what has built modern civilization. Now agriculture is so specialized that most food is produced on farms that only do one thing. At Home Winds, we have the opportunity to participate in a variety of agricultural practices, understand how they interact, and come to know some of the ways humanity has produced food and clothing for millennia. During this Unit, we will have a crash course on the history of agriculture, how most food is produced today, how and why we do it at Home Winds, and an exploration of what sustainability means. Be prepared to think deeply and get your hands (and clothes) dirty.
Topics to be covered include:
- What is Agriculture?
“The science, art, or practice of cultivating the soil, producing crops, and raising livestock and in varying degrees the preparation and marketing of the resulting products.”
- Why it matters
- Where it is now (Global, Regional, and Local)
- Starting vegetables in a greenhouse
- Successfully transplanting your starts
- Weeding well
- Animal Husbandry
- Daily care of animals
- Heritage breeds vs modern commercial breeds and the importance of genetic diversity
- Animal products (Eggs, honey, wool and processing it into yarn, etc.)
- Nature beyond agriculture
- What does it mean to be the most powerful animal on earth? Can we live sustainably and what does that look like?
|Environmental Sustainability||Ned Lincoln