4-H Project Green Teacher

School Gardening Newsletter--Fall 2017

Teacher Feature: Jeff Bracken, Westerville Schools

Each season a different school gardener in Ohio will be featured in the newsletter. This season's featured teacher is Jeff Bracken who answered the following questions:

Name: Jeff Bracken

School: Westerville North High School; Westerville, Ohio

Educational Position: Chemistry Teacher

How long have you been engaged in school gardening? Since 2011

How did you get started? In 2007, we started growing a variety of plants indoors under hydroponic conditions. Our initial success in hydroponics had me looking for additional opportunities to explore. When I came across one of Eliot Coleman’s books about the use of low tunnels for extending the growing season, I was hooked.

What was the most memorable moment you had teaching your students in the garden? The days in the middle of winter when we go outside to harvest our carrots. Watching high school students get excited about tasting carrots is truly an amazing experience. It’s amazing to be tasting locally grown carrots in January.

Why is school gardening an important educational tool for teachers? In addition to the scientific concepts, successful school gardens require sustained effort from students and teachers. In our digital world, things are expected to happen immediately. Most traditional science experiments are completed in a 45-minute class period. School gardens can offer a multi-week experience to achieve a unique learning experience.

What advice do you have for those wanting to start a school garden? Work with your building administration to ensure they are involved in the process. Start small to ensure success, and then tap into local opportunities and resources (Eagle Scout Projects, community organizations, etc.) to enhance and perhaps expand your gardening project to meet your needs.

Big picture

Free Chick Incubation Workshop Sponsored by Franklin County 4-H and Education Projects and Partnerships

Monday, Feb. 12th 2018 at 8:30am-4:30pm

2201 Fred Taylor Drive

Columbus, OH

Would you like to incubate chicks in your classroom? This workshop will show you how, as well as providing you with 4-H lesson plans for your classroom revolving around the life cycle of a chick (geared to grades 3-4). At the conclusion of the workshop, you will receive a free incubator. The workshop is for first time registrants only. To register, go to:


CFAES provides research and related educational programs to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis. For more information, visit cfaesdiversity.osu.edu. For an accessible format of publication, visit cfaes.osu.edu/accessibility.