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Take a peek inside our school garden and watch students learn, heal, and grow!
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Educational School Gardens on the Brewster and Clearpool campuses, under the supervision of a licensed teacher with specialized background in horticulture, play an important role in the lives of Green Chimneys students. Practical lessons in the garden enhance and reinforce theoretical learning in the classroom. Students gain respect for nature, manual work, individuals, and the community and have opportunities to grow plants, harvest vegetables, and prepare meals using produce out of the garden.

Boni-Bel Organic Farm in Brewster is comprised of a two-acre organic garden, an orchard, and a greenhouse. Supervised by a professional organic farmer and vocational coaching staff, the farm provides vocational training and therapeutic activities for Green Chimneys students while maintaining sustainable agricultural practices.

Learning by Experiencing the Day-to-Day

Students are involved with the day-to-day responsibilities of Boni-Bel and its retail operations, including a seasonal farm stand and the Country Store. Vocational skills in bee keeping, maple syrup production, small machinery operation and customer service challenge the students all year long. During the spring, summer, and fall months, planting, maintenance and harvesting activities take place in all of the gardens. In winter, students are exposed to the scientific side of horticulture, such as plant anatomy and seed propagation in our greenhouses.

Students have the opportunity to work directly with our Institute Interns who observe and participate in classes and facilitate one-on-one activities with individual students. Interns also guide therapeutic and recreational activities such as making beeswax candles, mixing organic lotions, drying culinary herbs and readying fresh chicken eggs for sale to the public.

Advantages of participating in purposeful, supervised gardening activities:
•    Enhance self-esteem
•    Alleviate depression
•    Improve motor skills
•    Provide opportunities in problem solving
•    Encourage work adjustment
•    Improve social interaction and communication
•    Teach marketable horticultural and business skills

From the American Horticultural Therapy Association

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