Longwood Gardens Hosts Enrichment Camp for Chester County Futures
Longwood Gardens was bustling with life on a snowy day in February as 45 middle school students from Chester County Futures visited the Kennett Square mainstay for a day-long enrichment camp. The event provided motivated, economically-disadvantaged 7th and 8th grade students from Kennett and Phoenixville school districts with hands-on learning opportunities under the guidance of a team of Longwood educators.
The day began with a Longwood-led presentation of “biomimicry,” the practice of drawing inspiration from nature to create man-made products. Students studied the natural designs of various plants that led to the creation of Velcro, packaging materials, clothing, and many other every-day items. The students were then presented with a “dilemma” that they needed to solve by utilizing the creativity and skills of biomimicry. This dilemma challenged students to redesign a community playground to make it safer, more accessible, and more environmentally-friendly by drawing inspiration from numerous plants on display in the Longwood Conservatory. Through careful observations and photography, groups created a PowerPoint presentation and unveiled their new-and-improved playgrounds to Longwood staff members and their peers. Longwood’s Coordinator of School and Youth Programs Lori Trexler said, “Longwood Gardens is pleased to partner with Chester County Futures in this important educational initiative. Educating students and adults about horticulture is core to our mission. Our educators were so impressed by the students’ ability to apply what they learned about plants in such creative ways. It was a pleasure to work with such a motivated group of students.”
The enrichment camp concluded with a discussion of various educational and professional opportunities for students interested in pursuing horticulture as a career. Chester County Futures is dedicated to providing its students with college and career exploration throughout their middle and high school years. Executive Director Maria McDonald addressed the significance of professional partnerships by saying, “Not only do our enrichment camp partners lend their professional expertise to us, but they also bring a unique and exciting new element each time we execute our Futures AHEAD program. Our partners deserve credit for the spike in student attendance. This learning is fun!”
Longwood Gardens will host a second enrichment camp for Chester County Futures middle school students from Coatesville in March.
To check out more photos, click here: https://goo.gl/photos/6mu3vuR2gRPaDiCn8
New Mentors meet their Mentees
On Wednesday October 28 and Thursday October 29, seven new mentors were matched with mentees from Coatesville and Oxford!
Four students from Coatesville and three from Oxford were very excited to meet their new mentors for the first time. Students, parents, and mentors had time to get to know one another, before they took a pledge to support each other in the relationship, and finally planned their monthly outings for the first few months.
Chester County Futures is thankful to all of the new mentors, who will play a vital role in their mentees success!