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Chappaqua's Grafflin School Goes Green

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. - Douglas G. Grafflin Elementary School continued to showcase its environmental initiatives on Thursday with its annual Green Day. Students throughout the school watched a video on water before touring a courtyard filled with parent-run stations.

Stations included displays on seed harvesting, composting, recycled-art projects and more. Dr. Susan Rubin, local environmentalist and self proclaimed "worm woman,"  was at the school to talk about vermiculture, which is the process of composting utilizing various species of worms.

Also on display was the hydroponic station in the school's greenhouse. According to Principal Michael Kirsch, Grafflin has started to grow tomatoes and cucumbers using the technology.

"We had three classes of fourth-graders come in recently to have cucumbers. Some of them are pretty big," Kirsch said. "When the children are here we'd like to have them try fresh vegetables."

Kirsch said the greenhouse has been around since the since the 1970s, but the hydroponics were not added until last year. The equipment was donated by Cabbage Hill Farm, an organic sustainable farm in Mount Kisco. Kirsch said when school is out for the summer, some food grown in the greenhouse will be donated to local pantries.

Prior to Friday's event, the school also planted a flowering pear tree in the courtyard. Kirsch said the school had a similar tree in the same spot, but it was damaged in the October snowstorm and had to be removed. To prevent any harm coming to the new tree, kindergarten students planted signs around the perimeter asking that nobody go near it.

"We had a couple kindergarten classes when they planted it, so the kids decided they wanted to put the signs up," Kirsch said. "I thought that was cute."

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