Michael Ismari is a man all about the roots in every sense of the word. He spends his time thinking about sustainability, education and deepening roots figuratively and literally. He is fastidious in how he approaches science as he connects students through experiential learning in the real world. In fact, what started out as a garden club has taken off so quickly, they can’t keep up with the wiki page the students created to compliment the program a few years ago. Simply put, they are too busy learning in real spaces which have replaced any time spent in cyberspaces.
Michael like many tireless leaders has spent time thinking about his practice area, his network in order to identify new possibilities through conversations and a thoughtful grant application process. The seeds he is sowing extend far beyond this school program, but rather serves as a model for other organizations to engage in new approaches to outdoor science. In fact, he won the award for Excellence in Environmental Education.
He is opening hearts and minds for our inner city youth who can now do more than just read text books to learn about seeds, roots and the true meaning of ‘taking hold’. Instead, he is instilling the countless value lessons that use the real world laboratories involving dirt, hard work, nurturing, recycling and the importance of resilience as important attributes for success in life. Now that is practical science we can all rally around.
It’s a story of schools supporting schools, which is commonplace in tight knit communities such as the Reno Tahoe Area school called Smithridge Elementary, which is right across the street from Pine Junior High School. A mutually beneficial program that resulted in a $12,000 grant from the CSA to build a school garden initially. Today this Outdoor Science Learning Center has gained recognition through being awarded the distinguished DRI Environmental Award. Currently the Pine Garden is involved with the Northern Nevada Food Bank and the Team-Up 21st Century Learning Program to produce a fundraiser to insure school garden sustainability. In fact, the Edible Classroom at the Washoe County School District, Washoe County School District Team Up, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, UNR 4-H Mentoring and the Food Bank are allowing kids to learn great life lessons and have fun way in a delicious way through the program. Also, check out their upcoming event at La Vecchia at: http://goo.gl/6tKCF. Thank you.