Students Learning through Urban Gardening


Q: What is the purpose of SLUG?
A: To teach successful vegetable gardening techniques to students and teachers in Boston public schools and to use gardening activities to meet curriculum standards.

Q: What will teachers and students achieve by participating in SLUG?
A: Students and teachers gain an enhanced understanding of biology, ecology and other sciences. Students show increased curiosity and develop an interest in taking care of living things. They get to experience the natural world in an urban setting through hands on gardening, and develop a greater appreciation for and understanding of the process of growing food.

Q: What materials and support does SLUG provide for teachers?
A: SLUG leads two teacher trainings per year for which attendees receive 6 Professional Development Points. In addition to the training, SLUG provides year round support through the SLUG Handbook, a listing of supplemental activities posted on the wikispace, and bi-monthly email guides with planting advice and curriculum ideas. SLUG also provides many supplies for gardening, see the Materials Request for a complete list.

Q: What will be the teacher’s role in the SLUG program?
A: Using SLUG support and guidance, teachers schedule, set up, implement and maintain gardening activities with their students. Teachers are also expected to attend a SLUG Teacher Training and inform SLUG staff of garden progress. SLUG Site Coordinators must attend quarterly Advisory Committee meetings and submit periodic program evaluations.

Q: How do I know when to start SLUG activities?
A: SLUG gardening activities and maintenance tasks, i.e., when to plant, transplant, harvest) are charted on a calendar in the SLUG Handbook. SLUG emails will also prompt teachers when to start activities.

Q: What will the role of SLUG staff be in my classroom?
A: SLUG staff provides technical gardening support and program information through site visits and refresher activities. SLUG Staff also provide timely delivery of materials and supplies.

Q: How do I coordinate SLUG staff deliveries of materials?
A: Each SLUG site will has a Site Coordinator who compiles a list of all the materials needed by the school so that a delivery can be made. The Site Coordinator will arrange deliveries with SLUG staff (though it is encouraged that teachers be present for deliveries, so they can ask the SLUG staff any immediate, pressing questions)

Q: Does my school have to apply and be accepted to the SLUG program to receive support and supplies?
A: The SLUG Handbook and some supporting curriculum is available online for all to use, and our teacher trainings are open to all on a “space available” basis. However, schools must be accepted into the program to receive technical support and supplies.

Q: What will happen to our plants, supplies and compost bin worms over the summer?
A: If sites do not have a safe place to store materials over the summer, SLUG staff will pick them up before the BPS summer session begins. Teachers are encouraged to remove plant material from outdoor beds at the end of the school year and before winter. If you have an outdoor composter plant material can be composted. Schools can make their own arrangements to tend to plots but SLUG does not provide care for them over the summer. Worms can be added to outdoor compost bins or taken home over the summer. Bins can also be dropped off at the BNAN office where we will take care of them over the summer.