Pamela Hallsson, from
Humanities Preparatory Academy
New York NY
Environmental Science, Botany, and Biology
I work at an inner city school in Manhattan were must students (if not all) have never experienced growing their own food or caring for plants. My school is an alternative high school for students who have failed at other traditional schools. A graduation requirement for all students is to perform and design their own experiment. I would love to use the window farms for their culminating lab. Students could study the effect of different groundwater contaminants on plant growth using the window farm system. It would be great to see how many of the columns are contaminated by the pollutant. I could see using the window farm system in many labs. I also run an after school club called “Eat Wise” were I teach using hands-on exploration and cooking activities to foster children’s enjoyment and consumption of healthy foods, as well as their appreciation for good nutrition. I would love to see them eating the very same Chard, tomatoes that they cultivated themselves. A window farm would be a great way to show sustainability and healthy habits both for our bodies and our planet.
I hope students would learn how our everyday activities impacts our environment and how they can use this knowledge to make informed decisions with their food and their human footprint. I would also link the window farms into my unit on the water cycle. Students will be able to see first hand how water is cycled by our planet.
For my senior students who would be using the window farms for their graduation requirement they would have to write a formal lab report which they present to a panel of outside evaluators. Where they would discuss their window farm experience and the knowledge they gained through researching about groundwater pollutants and their effect on the environment.