Students learn about the digestive system of a chicken from one of Hawthorn Hollow's educators.

Hawthorn Hollow’s Heritage Farmstead receives grant from SC Johnson

Grant to help prepare for Growing Healthy field trips starting in October


Hawthorn Hollow grew out of love for the land. As a nature sanctuary and arboretum, Hawthorn Hollow has been connecting people and nature through environmental education for more than 50 years. Hawthorn Hollow is owned and operated by the Hyslop Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501 c3 organization formed in 1964.

This spring, Hawthorn Hollow’s Heritage Farmstead was awarded a grant from SC Johnson, a Family Company to support their educational programming this year. This grant allows Hawthorn Hollow to staff our farm and prepare for our Growing Healthy field trips, starting this October.

The Heritage Farmstead’s mission is to promote healthy eating in our community through demonstration of organic produce production and educational programs. These programs include Growing Healthy and Organic Outreach. The Growing Healthy program is an ongoing collaborative educational project between Racine Unified School District, The Eco-Justice Center and Hawthorn Hollow that focuses on advancing nutrition and science education for children.

This is a field trip that serves as a curriculum resource for RUSD’s first grade health and nutrition curriculum, “The Great Body Shop,” and aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards.

Students study worms through viewfinders.

The Heritage Farmstead Growing Healthy program gives students an opportunity to learn about and explore gardens, make hands-on discoveries about where their food comes from, and learn the importance of making healthy choices.

Students are encouraged to harvest and try vegetables grown directly from the garden, instilling a deeper knowledge of where their food is sourced through hands-on experience. They are also invited to help care for animals, thus fostering the development of empathy. These interactive learning activities encourage students to explore the role of food as energy for life, emphasizing core NGSS concepts with memorable hands-on experiences. Through a collaborative effort with The Eco-Justice Center of Racine, we provide an educational experience to the entire first grade of RUSD, typically 1,200 students.

The garden is operated and staffed with part-time high school students through our “Organic Outreach” summer youth employment program. This program employs young adults and gives them an opportunity to learn about organic gardening and the operations of an organic farm, nutrition, beekeeping, and farmers market operations.

Organic Outreach staff also participates in community outreach through food bank donations. The program emphasizes workplace diversity and provides valuable job skills to local youth.