Programs in Environmental Education for Children and Youth
Healthy Eating Field Trip. Starting this fall, all first grade students in the Racine Unified School District will participate in a field trip either to the Eco-Justice Center or to Hawthorn Hollow in order to learn about growing healthy foods. The children will get to experience eating new foods and being on a farm. This fits in with the school’s Healthy Food Curriculum called the “Body Shop,” which is all about food and nutrition. Last fall, third graders from six inner city schools that were located near “food deserts” got to attend “Eating Healthy/Healthy Living” field trips; these trips were funded by grants from SC Johnson, Inc. and the Racine Community Foundation.
Racine Area Youth Farm Corps. Currently in its second year, the Racine Area Youth Farm Corps is modeled after a similar program in Grayslake, Illinois. Four high school students, one college intern and a program director are hired for the summer. The goal is to immerse themselves in various job skills for the future. They focus on farming vegetables, taking care of them until it is time to harvest, and then selling the produce at farmers’ markets. They also learn about the nutritional aspects of the food they grow and how to prepare meals using the herbs and veggies they have grown. They become advocates for healthy eating and community gardens, and they become model employees. Last year, the Youth Farm Corps was funded by the Racine Community Foundation and United Natural Foods Inc.
Summer Camps for children and youth. The Eco-Justice Center has four weeks of summer camps for children ages 6-10 and youth ages 11-14. The children learn about ecology and get the opportunity to interact with the farm animals, learn home-making skills such as making bread and butter, how to harvest their own salad, collect eggs from the hens, and celebrate local food. The older youth group gets to sleep over and even make pizza in an outdoor brick oven! Funds from the Forest County Potawatomi Foundation provide full scholarships for some inner city children and youth to attend the summer camps.