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  • Author or Editor: Marcia Eames-Sheavly x
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By examining the ways that societies have raised and prepared their predominant food crops, students can gain insights into horticultural methods and origins of food, and develop an awareness of and appreciation for diverse cultural heritage. An interdisciplinary approach to the subject permits young people to synthesize information form diverse sources and to understand the important historic relationship between humans and plants.

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Creativity is considered important for success in most disciplines. Research has shown career accomplishment to be more correlated with scores of creativity than with standard measures of intelligence. Creativity is positively correlated with one’s ability to adapt to new situations and succeed in today’s world. Horticulture provides a rich context for creative expression, given that it lies at the intersection of science, art, and the humanities. Yet, fostering creativity is often not emphasized in plant science curricula nor identified as a central learning objective. The goals of this paper are to help instructors identify practices that promote creative expression in their classrooms, offer examples of classroom exercises that allow students to express creativity within a plant science context, and provide direction for assessment. From the literature, we identified 10 criteria that characterize behaviors, practices, and attitudes that are considered components of creativity. Then, we shared these criteria with the horticulture faculty at Cornell University, asking for examples of classroom exercises in which these creativity criteria are reflected. Through our observations of submitted examples and comments from instructors, it is clear that class activities that promote creative thought are prevalent, but often not recognized as such by instructors. Classroom norms emphasize scientific knowledge and vocational skills, but it is not the norm to openly promote, encourage, and enhance creative skill use and development. Assessing creativity in students is challenging because there are no widely accepted criteria for evaluating it, and defining exactly what to measure can be subjective. We provide suggestions for how to think about assessing creativity in the classroom.

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Effects of time of application and removal of straw, clear polyethylene, black polyethylene, polypropylene, and polypropylene–polyamid rowcovers were measured for ‘Earliglow’ and ‘Allstar’ strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.). There was no consistent effect of date of autumn application on yield or fruit size for the polypropylene cover. All winter-applied rowcovers resulted in improved yields relative to uncovered plots, although this difference was not always significant. When applied during early spring, opaque materials reduced yields up to 46% and delayed fruiting as much as 3 days, while some translucent materials enhanced yields as much as 94% and accelerated harvest by 8 days compared to uncovered strawberries. Covering with translucent materials during both winter and spring had even stronger positive effects, with ‘Earliglow’ being more responsive. With translucent rowcovers, the time of removal had a greater effect on production and fruit size than rowcover type. Optimal removal dates differed for rowcover type and cultivar. For a short period of time in early spring, rowcovers apparently provide an environment favorable for flower development.

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This article discusses Greener Voices, a 3-year extension-research integration project intended to enhance the participation of children and youth in school- and community-based gardening settings and presents findings from a study of adult leaders’ perceptions about the participation of children and youth at their sites. The project included six sites in New York and Pennsylvania consisting of rural, suburban, and urban settings; children at those sites ranged in age between 3 and 18 years. Over a 2-year period, as part of the extension activity, sites were provided with consultation and written materials, a web site, and opportunities to attend a related workshop and conference. Interviews with adult leaders indicated moderate to high levels of participation at most of the sites, variation by age of participants and stage of project, the usefulness of a ladder of children's participation in raising awareness, barriers to participation, attitudinal and behavior changes, and positive impacts on the youth. Ongoing efforts are needed to assist sites/leaders, including strategies to expand thinking about the capabilities of children and youth, help children and youth adjust to new roles, and identity ways for younger children to increase their participation.

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This paper discusses a unique garden and youth-focused event in which a group of 4-H youth engaged in a “children's garden consultants” program. Over a 3-day period, seven teenaged youth were given the opportunity to actively research children's garden design and educational programming, and then present recommendations to an adult audience of children's garden experts and youth development specialists. Surveys, observations, and discussions with youth, adults in attendance, and program organizers indicated the event was highly valuable and worth repeating. It provided a new learning opportunity for youth, and it also gave adults new perspectives on gardens. The youth's ideas for improving children's gardens and suggestions for future programming are presented as well.

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