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The Episcopal School in North Philadelphia

After a successful first week of school, the 5th and 6th grade students of St. James School took their first field trip together.

The first stop of the day was Rushton Farm in Newtown Square, PA. Part of the Willistown Conservation Trust Community Farm Program, Rushton Farm sits on a six acre plot of land that has never been exposed to herbicides or pesticides, and the folks organically grow a plethora of fresh produce including herbs, gourds and berries.

Our hosts showed St. James students how sustainable agriculture can be mutually beneficial for important natural areas. The students were able to pick their own herbs as well as catch, identitify and release insects. They also tried cherry tomatoes straight off the vine that, to some students, “tasted like Skittles.” Using binoculars, students were even able to see the annual migration of turkey vultures. Each student was able to bring a small bag of tomatoes, peppers, and herbs with them to make salsa at our second stop.

Just five minutes down the road from Rushton Farm lives Brook Gardner of Gardner/Fox Associates, Inc. A champion of St. James School, Mr. Gardner and his family warmly welcomed staff and students into their home for lunch and an afternoon on their horse farm. Students rode horses—most for the first time—helped groom donkeys, and made salsa from scratch with their produce from Rushton Farms. They learned many aspects of equestrianism while enjoying the beautiful weather and fresh air. The trip was a great way to end an exciting first week at St. James School.