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Harrison Environmental Students Donate to Pantry

HARRISON, N.Y. - The donations came from the ground up - literally. Louis M. Klein Middle School students took it upon themselves when they approached teachers Julia Long and Caitlin Pastor to start an environmental club, which donated 40 peppers to the Harrison Food Pantry last week.

"It was amazing to grow this fresh produce and have the kids taste it," Long said. "One student marveled at how different a fresh green pepper tastes. He said, 'It doesn't taste like the sausage and peppers I have at home.' We were thrilled to learn that we could donate fresh items to the pantry."

The school's environmental club meets Tuesday mornings before school and teaches students biology, ecology, technology, communication and teamwork. After starting small with a focus on recycling issues and sustainable living, activities blossomed into a more involved approach to helping shape the middle school's courtyard.

The club has since grown into a nearly 50-student team that produced a new vegetable garden with its progress tracked on a student blog . The club grew radishes, lettuce, carrots, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and peppers throughout the summer.

The blog features closer looks at the crops grown by the students and updates as the process evolved over the summer.

Long and Pastor said they were pleased to be able to use the school's garden as a teaching tool. The sixth grade classes now regularly spend time in the garden learning about plant growth and environmental club students will sometimes help in the teaching.

"It's a great way to get kids outside and using the space," said Pastor.

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