By: Emily Urda
This year the Agriscience program added two new teachers, Dr. Timothy Martin and Mr. Jon Russo. It became quickly apparent to many students and teachers that the new teachers had big ideas. Dr. Martin and Mr. Russo kickstarted the academic year with the Fall Festival. Dr. Martin roasted a pig and a mini horror movie was filmed in the AgSci building and shown at the annual festival. Students with small businesses in Agriculture sold their products. A few crowd favorites were O’s Goodies, and Toadstool Apothecary. After the festival, Dr.Martin cooked a delicious stew with leftover pig bones and vegetables from the community garden.
Inside the AgSci building, Atticus Guiffreda (‘24) worked on fixing the “small engines lab” and turned it into a Herpetology Lab. Atticuses’ Herpetology Lab is home to 12 different critters. The newest critter is a Crocodile Skink–a small lizard that looks like a mini-dragon–named Toothless.
In the Marine Lab, Sebastian Bernhard, the lab manager, has over 200 coral frags for his small coral business. In his lab he hosts 5 different tanks. The lab is currently planning to begin implementing a 150 gallon tank over the summer and into next year.
In the greenhouse, Riya Gada has successfully grown heads of broccoli and different types of lettuce in her hydroponics lab.
“Being able to harvest these vegetables, make a meal, and eat them, instead of buying these items at the grocery store–I grew these items–it feels like being a farmer. It’s fulfilling,” said Riya Gada(‘24).
Dr. Martin’s natural resource class went on numerous field trips.
“One of my favorite memories from this year was going out to a maple syrup farm in New Canaan. At the end of the process, after a few weekends gathering sap, we got to bring our parents and watch the sap boil and make tea with the partially boiled sap and it was really cool,” said Grace Tolla (‘23).
Outside the building the community garden produced delicious carrots and lettuce for students to enjoy during class. Sebastian Bernhard planned and created a turtle pond in the back of the AgSci building. Turtles from the Aqua Lab now live out there during the warm months. In March of this year, the AgSci building raised a dozen or so chicks. Mr. Gload and some of his students helped build a chicken coop for the chicks. The chicken coop and turtle pond are favorite new additions to the programs.
“My favorite thing about Ag this year was the addition of the turtle pond and chicken coop,” said Stephanie Archila(‘24).
Dr. Martin is currently setting up fences for grapevines to grow on. By 2028 it is predicted that the program will have grown its first batch. On the side of the building, Dr. Martin is planning on painting a mural over the summer to exemplify the diversity of AgSci students when it comes to interests and backgrounds. This year Agriscience hosted the annual Holiday plant sale and sold an array of different plants. In the spring, AgSci hosted a Spring Plant Sale and sold plants that were grown in the greenhouse, and Riya’s hydroponic lettuce. Students vended their small business creations.