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STEAM Kits: Bringing Glen Leven Farm to students across Tennessee

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STEAM Kits: Bringing Glen Leven Farm to students across Tennessee

This past year has taught us all a lot about our ability to adapt: working from home, learning from home, and coming up with new ways to stay connected to friends and family.

Our staff has had to flex some seriously creative muscle to keep doing the work of The Land Trust, too. Site visits, stewardship check-ins, our annual fundraiser, and our educational programming have all had to pivot and adapt. We have had to find new ways to continue to do the work we love in a safe environment for our staff, landowners, and friends.

Community Engagement Coordinator Ellen Messerly, on her way to deliver STEAM Kits

Knowing we couldn’t have our usual groups of students come to The Land Trust for Tennessee’s Glen Leven Farm in Nashville for class Field Studies to explore and learn, our Community Engagement Coordinator, Ellen Messerly, had to find a new approach to take the farm to them!

Ellen, along with other staff members, created educational programming that delivered STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Kits to classrooms and students from Millington to Decatur to Clarksville, and so many places in between. These kits included all the supplies and information needed to learn about the life cycle of plants, and supplies for students to grow their own sunflowers: sunflower seeds, a small bag of soil, a peat pot, a field journal to record observations, and a packet of educational activities. 

Usually, the field trips are attended by students who live in Middle Tennessee, but these take-home kits allowed us to interact with students all across the state.

“The virtual nature of this school year has made it so difficult for teachers to find hands-on experiences for their students,” said Ellen. “It was such a joy to be able to find a way to engage students in an activity that brings the outdoors to their classroom or home, and to be able to provide the resources for teachers to incorporate the lessons into their curriculum. My hope is that growing these sunflowers brings the students a sense of ownership and appreciation for the natural world around them.”

The Land Trust’s Ellen Messerly, left, with teachers from Ashland City Elementary STEM Academy.

Final Stats

  • Number of miles covered: 1,019
  • Number of schools visited: 21
  • Number of classrooms involved: 82
  • Number of volunteer hours contributed: 44
  • Number of kits distributed: 1,500
  • Number of ferry rides unexpectedly taken: 1
We weren’t about to let the Tennessee River stop us from getting these kits to students!

We’re looking forward to bringing new and exciting educational programming to Glen Leven Farm in the upcoming school year. Head on over to our Education and Events pages to see  more opportunities to visit, explore, and learn with The Land Trust!

Special thanks to Sprouts Farmers Market, Book ‘Em Kids, and Compost Nashville for helping make these kits possible.