Welcome to the Woolman Educational Garden--a place of laughter and growth, a place where the word drought is never spoken in front of the plants (that would be rude), and a place where harvesting your first vegetable reminds you that all the hard work was undeniably worth it.
Looking back on my first year as a teacher, I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to grow, learn, and create with this community. Coming to Woolman marked a shift in my career from grassroots organizing to formal education. I now see how intertwined these two paths are. Organizing and action for collective liberation are central to peace education, and I have designed my curriculum to reflect this.
"Our garden quietly affords our community with a space for reflection, inspiration and guidance through these metamorphoses, simultaneously providing nourishment to support our path forward." – Maggie McProud
We are on the cusp of summer and already we have much to be grateful for in The Woolman Educational Garden. For those of us who live and learn here, Woolman inspires transformation and adaptation.
I work in the shared center of this venn diagram — Woolman is the only school that is both Quaker and a semester program. I’ve worked at other Quaker schools and other semester schools, and being here, I feel so much gratitude, as I see the best of both in Woolman.
Woolman is blessed with one of the most amazing wood fired kilns in America. In Japan, it is called a Noborigama kiln or "climbing kiln". It is a six-chambered kiln, each chamber using the residual heat of the chamber below it. Should all six chambers be loaded, it would use up to five cords of wood split to a diameter of one inch and hold as many as 3000 pieces of pottery!
Interns play an integral part in the garden. They spend 10+ hours in the garden a week doing everything from seed starting to pruning an entire orchard. Intern garden time is a great way to bond over hard work and see something transform with their efforts every week.
Monday mornings start with a garden check-in, starting with silence interns share thoughts to start the week with. This is a way unique and effective way to ease into the week with a clear mind and heart. With the intern’s hard work and dedication the garden gets the attention and love it deserves.
I am responsible for taking care of 236 acres, 46 structures, pastures, a-frames, a dining hall, soccer field, bathhouses, 2 ponds, forest…..and I love my job, but when I describe my work to those outside Woolman these are the least of the responsibilities that I speak of. I am also a teacher, an activist, a mentor, a student, an elder, and a friend. These are the roles that make my job worth it every day, I am the grounds and maintenance supervisor at the Woolman Semester School.