Robert Mayben is the enthusiastic Wildcat Ranch manager. He’s a special-ed teacher at Sonora High School who has taught math, history, science and woodshop “to kids with a wide range of abilities.”
Shop students built the raised beds at Wildcat Ranch and helped install the irrigation system. The bed of calendulas is part of the organic pest control program used at the ranch.
A Sonora High School student transfers a tomato seedling to a larger pot inside the greenhouse students helped build at Wildcat Ranch. Many of the materials were donated.
Over the last several months. Sonora High’s Wildcat Ranch has turned into a great educational center not only for high school students but also for visiting elementary classes and the public in general.
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This last year students put in over a dozen raised beds that produced huge quantities of produce that they sold at our local food buying club. In addition to planting their potato patch with the help of FoCuS, and selling or donating thousands of pounds of potatoes, the high school also hosted a five-county Mother Lode farm-to-school network event at the ranch, which is an annual meeting aimed at connecting our local farms with school cafeterias so that students learn where food comes from besides out of a package.
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It is such a help to the community to have the school actually be a part of the economy. It also adds a function that parents can become involved in, and gives many students a hands-on connection with education they never thought possible. Wildcat Ranch was a featured garden this year for the Master Gardener tour. To see videos of a community at its very best, do a YouTube search for “Sonora High School Garden and Wildcat Ranch.”
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This article was originally published in The NEW PIONEER™ Fall 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.
Family ties and a supportive community show how anyone's green ambitions can become a reality!
by Val Dambacher / Sep 29, 2015