Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Feathered Heroines to the Resue

Three Silkie Bantams enjoy a breakfast of bugs
Termites were found in one of the new planting beds at the school.  As we are practicing organic gardening techniques, it was only natural to think of the chickens to help eradicate these unwanted pests.  My friend who owns the farm in Cotuit arrived around 9:30am with a large wire dog crate and three Silkie Bantam chickens. 

We stirred up the soil and then placed the cage inside the raised bed with the chickens inside.  We kept the chickens caged for their safety and to help them focus on the immediate task at hand.  Within seconds of being in the enclosure they got to work.  As they dined on their delicious breakfast of termites, students came outside to see the chickens busy at work.

While the chickens did their part, we planted strawberries, beets and potatos.  Ever so often, we lifted the cage and retilled the soil to unearth a fresh batch of termites.  Soon enough, the chickens were full.  Their crops became pendulous and we knew that they had done their job. 
You can find more pictures in today's copy of the Cape Cod Times on page A3.
Photo Credit:  Tilly's Nest

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds- New Speaker Added

We are pleased to announce that Dean Sherman will be joining our lecturers for our "Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds" program.  He will be providing educational lectures on physical activity to both children and adults.  We are currently working on scheduling lectures sometime in June.  Here is his biography.

Dean Sherman, PT, MPT, COMT, CEAS, VRT, CCCE/CI, a Cape Cod native, was raised in a family of runners and outdoor enthusiasts, engaging in free running, orienteering, rock climbing, lacrosse, rugby, volleyball, kayaking, and snowshoeing. He was accepted into the University of New England’s prestigious Physical Therapy program, graduating with specialties in manual orthopaedics, pediatrics, and gait rehabilitation. He continued in post doctoral work in the area of differential medicine and manual therapy. Dean then worked with Olympic hopefuls, professional athletes, and Elite Runners alike at Kennebunk Physical Therapy on the Maine Coast. He then joined the world renowned staff at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where he specialized in restoring gait and rehabilitating children with everything from congenital disorders to amputations.

In 2004, he returned to Cape Cod and began running a prominent Novacare Rehabilitation clinic in South Dennis, where he rejoined his local community, developing injury prevention programs for runners, contact sports, and weekend warriors alike. He developed new flexibility approaches for sport specific conditioning, and has become a consultant for multiple companies, municipalities, professionals, and sports leagues. Dean Sherman also has constructed an injury prevention and emergency sports medicine program for the Cape Cod Challenge Cup Soccer Tournament, now for the fifth year providing a wide range of services to over two hundred soccer teams. This program covers multiple sites, serving over 5,000 athletes, utilizing clinicians and equipment along with Novacare Rehabilitation’s and Select Physical Therapy’s Mobile Sports Medicine Clinic.

Dean is currently developing new programs and specialties for Novacare Rehabilitation as well as providing training to Physical Therapists as the clinical leader for the Cape and Islands. His clinic, one of 947 nation wide, provides specialized Physical Therapy, injury recovery, and post surgical rehabilitation; covering sports therapy, balance/agility/power rehab, work conditioning, vestibular rehabilitation, maxillofacial rehab, post-oncology therapy, pediatrics, women’s health, and geriatric rehabilitation. He has become an ergonomic specialist, holding a certification from the Back School of Atlanta, as well as being a member of the Orthopaedic and Sports specialty sections of the American Physical Therapy Association and National Sports & Conditioning Association. He is a Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist recognized by OSHA/DOL and a physical tactics instructor. He is also undergoing expansion of his clinic and continues to train Physical Therapists, consults and lectures often, and provides educational series to surgeons, companies, organizations, schools, and physician groups.

Dean has lately been creating activity-specific injury prevention and conditioning programming for the Dennis-Yarmouth High School Athletic Department, local Police and Fire Services, and Cape Cod businesses and factories. He continues to provide ergonomics, renovation, and productivity/retasking consulting to individuals and companies across New England. He has recently completed an Orthopaedic Manual Therapy degree program from the Ola Grimsby Institute of Norway to become a Credentialed Orthopaedic Manual Therapist and specialist in Scientific Therapeutic Exercise Prescription. He resides in Yarmouthport, Cape Cod, Massachusetts with his loving wife Shannon, a Medical-Surgical RN.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Garden Dedication Plans

Last night, I went to the school committee meeting in order to formally present our community's desire to dedicated The Garden at BCHMCPS to retiring principal, Ken Keenan.  Here is the public comment that I made at the school committee meeting.

My son has had the privilege of attending the elementary charter school when it was in Marstons Mills and we followed it across town to the old Hyannis East building.  I was asked in the fall of 2010 to become the Project Coordinator for a new endeavor between the school, the Barnstable Recreation Division and the Mid-Cape Farmer’s Market. It was to create an organic school based garden.

Since then, the Garden has become a reality. The garden’s perimeter measures 245 linear feet. It will connect over 400 children of diverse demographics and socioeconomic status to the outdoors and nature. With more than 30 raised beds, The Garden at BCHMCPS will contain assorted organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Currently planned crops include tomatoes, various potatoes, beans, strawberries, blueberries, carrots, lettuces, cucumbers and herbs. These will be planted, harvested and sold weekly at the Mid-Cape Farmer’s Market throughout the year in the HYCC’s parking lot, adjacent to the school. Crops will be in production during the Spring, Summer and Fall months

The garden offers learning on multiple levels. Some of the learning opportunities provided by The Garden at BCHMCPS include discovering where food comes from, composting and worm farming, agricultural techniques and skills, responsibility, financial aspects of running a business, counting and sorting crops, art opportunities, journal keeping, problem solving, teamwork and building relationships. In addition to these goals, we are also attempting to combat childhood obesity and encourage children to make healthier dietary choices. We plan to integrate produce from the garden into our school’s lunches, provide tastings and host guest chefs for healthy cooking demonstrations.

Our leadership team is comprised of members of the health care field, local farmers, landscapers, educators, various school personnel including the head of Dining Services and School Facilities manager, local community volunteers, town officials and master gardeners. In addition, we are fortunate to have the support and partnership of local businesses including Emerald Physicians, Bass River Pediatrics, Massachusetts Audubon-Long Pasture, Ocean Song Farm, Cape Cod Organic Farm, Country Gardens, Barnstable County’s Healthy Connected Cape Cod Project, AmeriCorps, Slow Food, and The Cape Cod Organic Gardeners, Reliable Fencing and Pine Harbor Sheds.

Over the course of our planning, it soon became evident that our work with the garden has mirrored the work and accomplishments of Mr. Keenan’s long career within the Barnstable school system. Through his dedication and commitment to the schools, he has helped to shape and form the schooling experience in Barnstable.

When he first began at the charter school some years ago, he took the newly formed school from its beginnings and transformed it into a success story to be proud of. Like planting seeds and watching them grow, he nurtured the students, faculty and staff in a positive educational environment with guidance and support. When it was time to move across town, with the utmost care, he enthusiastically led us into the unknown. Our school is thriving. Our enrollment is at capacity and waiting lists exist.
Our Garden is in its beginning stages. Mr. Keenan is at the end of his career in the Barnstable School system. It is the desires of the school community, students, the garden committee, faculty and staff that we dedicate our Garden to Mr. Keenan. It is symbolic of his work within the schools. It mirrors his career. Mr. Keenan is a role model and his dedication to the students and the school should be recognized.

As we till the soil, we hope that the garden dedication will serve to remind us of Mr. Keenan’s legacy. It will serve to remind us what we can achieve with hard work. Remind us about patience; remind us about unity and partnerships. It will remind us of the impact that he has had on thousands of individuals who have had the pleasure of working with him.