Cunningham Teacher Earns Children in Nature Award, Welcomes Community to Join Fall Farm Days

When children at Cunningham Elementary School have questions about where their food comes from, they do not need to look far for an answer. The Cobras are gaining hands-on experience in the farm-to-table process just a few feet away from their classroom.

Lauren Maples, a second grade teacher at Cunningham, has developed a school community farm, which brings children, educators and community members together. To more easily sustain the campus farm, the school's community works collaboratively to tend the land as a group.

Partners in Education, Agriculture and Sustainability, known as PEAS, helps children understand the origin of their foods and promotes healthy eating choices to children. It serves as an educational center, mentoring space and a hub for a system of home-based gardens. 

On Sept. 28, Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center will recognize Maples and the PEAS farm model at the Celebration of Children in Nature Awards at the Austin Country Club.

Maples earned the John F. Ahrns Award for Environmental Education, which is named in honor of an Austin naturalist who served as the founding manager of the preserve manager from 1976 until his retirement in 2010. Ahrns began his work at the preserve by hauling more than 100 full-size garbage bags of trash out of the Westcave canyon.

PEAS Farm Events and Registration

Mark your calendars for fall farm days from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 4 and 18, Nov. 1 and 15, and Dec. 6 and 20. Registration is open to the public. For more information, please visit the registration website.

Interested in learning more? For more information, please visit the PEAS farm model website. For information about the award, please visit the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center website.