The power of partnerships

Nonprofits are more powerful together than alone! This fall, Oxbow is proud to be part of a Statewide Food Educator Mega-Team, the largest AmeriCorps team in the state.

CommonThreads is a Bellingham organization with the mission to expand the impact of nutrition- and garden-based education and to build a network of like-minded organizations for resource sharing and collaboration. They reached out to our education team this spring with the dream of hosting the Statewide Food Educator Mega-Team, with members serving across four sites: Oxbow Farm & Conservation Center in Carnation; CommonThreads in Bellingham; Lower Columbia School Gardens in Cowlitz County; and Concrete Farm to School in Concrete. We’re delighted to help make the dream become reality!

Oxbow is especially inspired to work with our fearless leaders at CommonThreads, who operate and educate in an impressive 21 school gardens across four districts in the Bellingham area. We also can’t wait to learn more about the other partner sites through “exchange visits” that will happen over the course of the service year.

Together, a total of 20 AmeriCorps members will connect elementary students to healthy food from seed to table through growing, preparing, and eating healthy food. The educational tactics and programs vary from site to site, but common activities include cooking, gardening with kids in either schools or community settings, and engaging families through volunteer opportunities and community events.

Meet Caroline

Oxbow’s very own (and very first!) AmeriCorps service member, Caroline McSherry, just moved to Seattle from Massachusetts. She most recently completed her third summer as a park ranger for the MA Dept of Conservation and Recreation on the Boston Harbor Islands, where she provided visitor education on the natural and human history of the area. Caroline has a degree in Environmental Studies and her education included a semester abroad in Panama where she conducted field research, and worked on a soil conservation research project involving Panamanian farmers. Caroline is excited to work in the field of food and farming, and will also support our outdoor classroom project at Frank Wagner Elementary, deliver field trip programming at Oxbow, and deliver in-class lessons in the winter.

Caroline has already jumped right in, delivering Fall Farm Adventures field trips, working with volunteers and staff, and doing farming and gardening projects here at Oxbow. Her favorite moments so far include exploring the farm with her students and helping them harvest their very own carrot. She enjoys watching their faces light up as they discover where their food comes from. She also loves the serenity of being at Oxbow and is happy to be working outdoors.

Caroline is spearheading special relationships with partner schools to deepen their connections to Oxbow through special farmer visits to their classroom, along with pre- and post-visit assessments to evaluate the effectiveness of farm-based environmental education. Caroline hopes to inspire nature connection, healthy eating, and stewardship with the young people she works with this year!