For the past seven years, Alt Ed students have lent a hand by working on various service projects at the farm. This fall, farm staff again reached out to the Draper program to ask for help building a stack-rail fence.
“They wanted us to construct this rustic style fence to replace an aging wire fence overlooking the Mohawk River,” said teacher William VanWie. “Like so many of my previous groups, students were eager to leave their mark on the oldest colonial settlement in the Mohawk Valley.”
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, students toured the farm and saw some of the structures and projects completed since Alt Ed classes first starting helping the farm in 2008. They also learned about the importance of Mabee Farm to local history.
Despite the rainy weather, students were able to dig post holes, set the posts and attach rails for 16 sections of wood fence. As they worked, they heard stories of the farm’s history, past and present.
“The teamwork and enthusiasm the students exhibited made the project all the more valuable,” said VanWie. “Students who sometimes struggle to maintain positive relationships with their peers and elders came together for this rewarding cause. The students’ interactions and etiquette while working revealed that they took pride in making a difference for the farm.”
At the end of the day, students stepped back to see the magnitude of their accomplishment. “As a group, we took a few moments to reflect on our work,” said VanWie.
VanWie said Mabee Farm staff members were grateful for the help, and students were thankful for the experience.
“It truly was a win-win experience for both organizations,” he said.