News from the WBNS Gardens ...

Hello and warm fall greetings from the Woodson Branch Farm!

This is an update from the Agriculture/Horticulture Programs at Woodson Branch Nature School. We are two months in, and the students are off to a great start! We started the year with an intro to Soil unit, in which students learned about different types of soil, layers of soil, the importance of topsoil and organic matter, and erosion causes and prevention technique. This month we have been focusing on Ecosystems, starting with primary producers (plants) and photosynthesis, then moving to consumers (we featured cows and crows), and now we are working on decomposers. Last week, we were fortunate to welcome Sena Kassim (Hot Springs) who inspired us with a presentation on earthworms and vermiculture! Today we made bricks out of local clay with Josh Copus (Marshall) as part of the Community Brick Project. It was so fun!

The students have begun to help with fall preparation for next year's gardens. In the student plots, we have been sheet mulching with cardboard, leaves, straw, manure and composted sawdust. In the larger garden plot on the knoll, the 3rd-8th grade students helped establish a cover crop of winter wheat and vetch to improve the soil with organic matter and nutrients for next year's garden. Thanks to the Whole Foods Grant and two other private donations, we are looking forward to getting a greenhouse this winter which we will be able to use for a multitude of projects and lessons with the kids throughout the entire school year! *If you wold like to make a donation to this project, please email:

Some of you have expressed an interest in volunteering with the program. That is wonderful! We will be calling on volunteers for work days to accomplish special projects and would love your help. If you are interested in doing something specific or being involved on a regular basis, please let us know.! In the meantime, we have a wish list of materials and supplies that we need in order to make our program as awesome as possible. If you have any of the following that you could contribute or know of someone who does, please let us know:

15 short-handled shovels
15 stirrup (oscillating) hoes
15 regular hoes
leaf or steel rakes
electric fencing wire
T posts
plastic electric fence posts
building supplies for goat barn addition
tables for greenhouse (supplies to make them)
money for greenhouse supplies (private donation or grant opportunities)

It is a privilege to work with your children. We teach Agriculture and Horticulture classes every Wednesday, and you are welcome to come sit in on our classes anytime. Just be in touch!

Dana Nagle (Horticulture) and Cassandra Lewis (Agriculture)