AP Environmental Science ventures to Sundew Gardens


photo by Jake Arthur

Students pick carrots before washing them off to eat at the direction of Sundew Garden’s Tom Carrey.

Courtney Dziewior, Online Managing Editor

Taking a break from classroom learning, Ecology and AP Environmental Science teacher Marc Pooler took his students out for hands on learning at the Sundew Gardens on Thursday, Jan. 7 and Friday, Jan. 8.

Sundew Gardens is a family-owned farm founded in 1983 that cultivates produce such as eggs, vegetables, herbs, citrus and blueberries, founded in 1983. Beginning five years ago, the field trip has been an annual tradition for AP Environmental Science classes as a way to supplement classroom material during their food production unit. The convenient location allows students to leave at the beginning of their science class period to walk over to Sundew Gardens and return in time for the rest of the day.

Led by owner Tom Carey, students learned about the differences between purchasing produce from organic, self-sustaining farms and grocery stores, such as travel distance, pollution, pesticides and fertilization. Students were also able to pick vegetables, pet rabbits and feed chickens.

The field trip was tailored to material from Pooler’s current unit. The main subject has been the distance that food travels to reach the grocery store, and how that affects the environment. Local producers, such as Sundew Gardens, impact the environment much less.

“It was a fascinating way to compare and contrast the different methods,” junior Emily Heston said.

One of Pooler’s favorite parts about the field trip is that it gives students the opportunity to experience a different way to obtain their food. The Carey family lives off of their produce, showing it is a sustainable, economical way of life.

“They have put a lot of time [and] a lot of thought in trying to make it not just a place where you go and get groceries, but a place where you go and have an experience,” Pooler said. “You walk away there feeling like you were part of something special.”