Ashland Daily Press: There’s more to appreciate along the Washburn Walking Trail this summer than just birds, butterflies and beaches. For instance, Emma Meeker, a 2017 Washburn High School (WHS) graduate has created two Reel In and Recycle monofilament-recycling bins for used/unwanted fishing line.
“My goal is to make life easy for boaters on Lake Superior,” said Michelle Shrider, general manager of the Washburn Marina since 2007.
One way to make life easier has been helping to facilitate Meeker’s project.
“The primary reason we put those containers up is because one of the biggest hazards to a marine habitat in a heavily used recreational boating environment is fish line, which gets caught up on the fish gills and they die. Also, those fish get caught up in boat props and can do a lot of damage,” Shrider said.
Meeker began her project junior year in 2015 while attending the Conserve School fall semester.
“As part of a Stewardship class, we were asked to create a project that we wanted to bring back to our community to help the environment,” Meeker said.
Ashland Daily Press: Washburn School District’s Green and Healthy School Program has gained national attention for providing students with the tools necessary to live in harmony with the natural world and may even result in a visit from First Lady Michelle Obama.
This year, the Washburn School District has gained national attention as a district that fosters academic excellence and environmentally focused programming at all levels for students.
In September, Washburn High School was awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award for Academic Excellence. Then this spring, five Washburn Elementary students visited the White House — twice — to plant and harvest with First Lady Michelle Obama as part of her “Let’s Move!” initiative supporting school gardens and healthy lifestyle choices as a way to combat child obesity.
So what exactly does this recognition mean for the district, and what makes it such a unique place to learn?
According to District Administrator Dr. Thomas Wiatr, national recognition reaffirms that the district is moving in the right direction with the strategic goals of student achievement in math and reading, as well as embracing the Wisconsin Green and Healthy School model, which is a partnership between the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Public Instruction, and Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education.
“The recognition is unsolicited… All of our efforts resonate all the way to Washington and it just reinforces all of the great things we have going on at our school,” Wiatr said.
Duluth News Tribune: When kids from the Washburn school district were picked to travel to the White House in April to help first lady Michelle Obama plant a South Lawn vegetable garden, it was a very big deal to the town of about 2,000 residents.
Then the group was asked to return.
Five students and two school employees leave today to join other students in helping Obama and celebrity chef Rachael Ray harvest and prepare food from the garden.
Washburn — among three districts picked to join two D.C. schools in the efforts — was chosen for its “robust” garden programs and its use of produce in its school cafeteria, said Deborah Kane, national director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School program.
School districts that aren’t on the national radar are among those sought, she said, and Washburn fit the bill: “A small town, not a very long growing season, but being super innovative using high tunnels, with some community partnerships in place,” Kane said.
Bayfield County Journal:Several Washburn Elementary School students were among the students helping First Lady Michelle Obama plant the White House Kitchen Garden Tuesday.
Two fourth graders and three fifth graders helped Mrs. Obama plant vegetables. All five Washburn students have been active in the school’s gardening program.
This was the eighth straight year Mrs. Obama has hosted the event. In 2009, she planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn to initiate a national conversation on the nation’s health and wellbeing. The event evolved into her Let’s Move initiative.
The Washburn School District currently has a 6,400 square foot school garden and orchard. The elementary grades each maintain a section of the garden and the middle school and high school have classes that use the garden.
Much of the food grown is used in the school food service or sold to the community.
Also taking part in the ceremony were students who have school garden programs from Colorado and Louisiana. Students from Bancroft Elementary School and Harriet Tubman Elementary School, who regularly help with the White House Kitchen Garden, also attended.