The THMS Garden Project Team
Belfast, Maine


Jon Thurston
Agricultural Coordinator.
THMS garden Project
B.S. Biology

Jon received a BS in biology from Michigan State University in 1974.  After graduating He spent two years in Peace Corps Philippines working in fisheries extension.  Upon returning to the states he worked for seven years for the USDA in California in aquatic weed control research. 
 During this time he took course work at the University of California at Davis in botany and honed his gardening skills by working at the Davis community gardens.  Following a beautiful woman (his wife) to Searsmont, ME he worked in hydroponic greenhouses until he began teaching in MSAD #40 in Waldoboro. 
 For 19 years he taught biology, earth science and horticulture at Medomak Valley High School.  His most notable accomplishment (along with co-teacher Neil Lash) was starting the MVHS Heirloom Seed Project, which saves over 600 varieties of heirloom seeds.  Mr. Thurston was the 1997 and 2005 Maine Agriculture Teacher of the Year.
Jon oversees large gardens of vegetables, herbs and flowers, a food producing greenhouse and a small fruit orchard. He provides direct support to Lead Teacher, Steven Tanguay, in the School Garden and Greenhouse Project using plants, flowers and herbs in their many forms to help students reconnect with their environment and the true sources of their daily needs (food, clothing, fuel).  
 Today he works with students, staff and the local community to provide a laboratory for agriculture based learning. From planting to harvest students experiment in germination and propogation, integrated pest control, orchard development, aqua-culture, weather studies and soil amendments.
Jon provides a laboratory setting that offers a chance for real experiential educaion.  Students learn about their community and it's history, good nutrition and local food production, small business management and how to conduct good science.  

Steven Tanguay

Consultant- Steven Tanguay Lead Teacher, THMS Garden Project.  Master's Teaching & Counseling,  C.A.G.S. Consulting Teacher/ Learning Specialist

Honors include: MAITCA 2003 Teacher of the Year, Farm Bureau White-Reinhardt Scholarship Winner, "Making the Grade Award"-2005,  Maine's State Board of Education, Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture: 2005 National Award Winner (USDA), 2006 Scott's National Teacher of the Year and member of the Cuban Sustainable Research Delegation, 2006.  

In 2008 he presented his curriculum and the Garden Project at the Bioneer's Conference in California.
Steven is a seventh grade teacher of Economics, History, and Agriculture at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine.   He has developed a complete curriculum that integrates middle school academic concepts with sustainable agricultural production practices in a garden, orchard and green house setting.   Steve's first Farm to School projects were started in Vermont in 1980.
Students in his program develop and run businesses while learning the economics of producing their own food. His program is an excellent venue for utilizing laptop computers and scientific probeware for spreadsheets, web design, data collection, word processing, marketing and documentary film work.  
Trained first as apprentices, then graduating to "employee" status in one of three divisions (garden, seed and compost) within the school Garden Company, students learn individual responsibilities that lead to the divisions' success.
Students manage the garden/greenhouse, save heirloom seeds, produce organic fertilizers (composting), create garden art & paper, produce business plans, produce a newsletter and provide foods that are distributed to students directly, the school cafeteria, the community and local soup kitchens.   The students also manage a retail farmer's market.
The Garden Project was given the "Making the Grade Award, 2005" by Maine's State Board of Education for a truly outstanding integrated teaching program that brings experiential education into the regular classroom. This honor is reserved for exceptional teaching programs/ curriculum that motivate students, directly addresses Maine and National Learning Standards and demonstrates high student achievement. 


Most recent: 2007 National School Garden Winners, Weaving a Life DVD production and written up in the newest Downeast Books garden publication, Downeast Magazine, The Generator and the book Smart by Nature.
Linda Hartkopf is the Districts Health Coordinator and a Garden Advocate.  Linda conducted her Master's Internship at the THMS Garden and has since worked as a garden teacher and curriculum developer.

     Linda operates a dairy farm (Hart-to-Hart Farm) with her husband. Like most family-owned farming operations, Linda is called lindaupon to do a wide number of tasks. She is responsible for animal care, field work, milking, bookkeeping, as well as caring for her three children and managing the home. Linda is active in the Farm Bureau, especially in promoting farm safety and agricultural education. She most enjoys watching her animals being born and raising them to healthy, productive animals. The most difficult part of being an owner-operator of a family dairy operation, for Linda, is balancing her full-time responsiblities as a mother with her full-time responsiblities as a farmer, duties that add up to more than 24 hour days!
markConsultant- Mark Fulford farmer (Teltane Farm) and agricultural educator and consultant from Monroe, Maine. 
provides crop/soil consultation and expert teaching in the areas of soil and plant health, propogation and grafting,  insect management and plant nutrition. 

Examples of his work with our students has included everyting from improving forage quality by using foliar applications of nutrients to controlling our greenhouse ahpid population through the interpretation of Brix readings and soil tests.

*Mark lays out the factors that negatively affect soil life as well as farming practices that encourage soil life and build soil health.
*He teaches us about the soil foodweb and how to match compost and compost tea recipes to our crops in order to charge its natural energy delivery system.

Don White

Consultant- Don White is a former Agricultural Coordinator at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine and Waldo County's Conservation 2004 Teacher of the Year.  He began the inspirational garden program at the Drinkwater school before starting the middle school garden.  The THMS greenhouse was dedicated to Don upon retiring.

cornell universitySteve and Don were both awarded the 2005 National Excellence in Teaching Agriculture Award by the  United States Department of Agriculture and the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Services.

Steve and Don in New Mexico


Consultant- Anna Kessler 
Anna Kessler  _  7 Navy Street, Searsport, ME 04974 __  207-548-2130  __

Born and educated in England Anna has lived and worked as an operating room RN in many parts of the United States since emigrating here in 1970.  Two years ago she and her husband “retired” to Searsport from Albany New York. 

annaWhile in Albany, she was a regular exhibitor for “New York in Bloom” - an ‘art-in-bloom’ flower show that is the annual fundraising event for the NY State Museum’s after school Children’s Programs and Chairman of Exhibitors for eleven years.

Studied Sogetsu for 8 years in Schenectady and Armonk, NY, with Sally Gage and Judith Hata and achieved “First Teacher Level” certification in 2002.

Maintains a long-distance affiliation with the Fort Orange Garden Club of Loudonville NY where she has been a member since 1991 and first developed her flower arranging instruction programs.  She is currently a Prospective Judge in the Garden Club of America Design (Flower Arranging) division and as such has served on panels for the Boston Spring Flower Show, the Newport Flower Show, the Philadelphia Flower Show, the Memphis Flower Show, as well as numerous Garden Club and State Flower Shows. On the Garden Club of America Zone 1 Speaker’s List and has given lectures, demonstrations and workshops to Garden Clubs in NY State and Maine, also at the Spring Garden Celebration at Unity College, Merryspring Gardens in Camden and the Maine Master Gardener’s Conference.

As a Certified Maine Master Gardener commits her volunteer community hours to the Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast. The school has an active agricultural program and she has developed a Cutting Garden/Floral Design program with the 7th grade students. Starting with designing and planning the cutting garden, the students will extend their knowledge, and using the flowers they have grown, move from agriculture to flower arranging,

Hobbies: Her garden is a work in progress and she is growing an ever-widening range of flowers, both annuals and perennials. Also a calligrapher she now mostly limits her work to friends’ and families’ weddings …"there just isn’t enough time to do more and of course, most weddings are in the summer when my gardens require undivided attention!"  She shares a passion for watercolor painting with her husband and they delight in living on the coast of Maine because they don’t have to go further than their back door for inspiration! They are also both Penobscot Bay Stewards - a program that encourages private citizens to become “Stewards” of the environment and in this cause they volunteer hours wherever there is a need.

Hannah Brzycki is a Junior at Unity College, majoring in Landscape Horticulture . She is interning with the THMS Garden project during her Spring 2007 semester.

Since Hannah was born she has helped in her parent’s Garden Center business in CentralVirginia.  She was involved in all aspects of the business: planting/digging trees, raising perennials and annuals and dealing with the general public consumer.

While at Unity College, Hannah has been involved in many clubs and committees to help broad her perspective:
The Constructive Activists which deals with local to national environmental issues;
The Women’s Environmental LEADership Program which provides female students with a comfortable environment to face the challenges of the male dominant environmental fields that they shall all enter.

Hannah is also a Junior Representative in the Student Government, and a peer tutor specializing in math. Hannah finds being involved in campus life gives her great leadership roles, but being out in the garden and getting her hands dirty is a great way to relax after a hard day or week of studying.   

lynnLynn Karlin   Lynn has been a great supporter of the Garden Project and is always available to help when we need that special picture or photo lesson.
She specializes in gardens, travel and food photography.

Ms. Karlin's photography has been featured in Country Living Gardener, Gardens Illustrated,
Garden Design, Horticulture, Country Gardens, Better Homes and Garden SIP's, People, Places and Plants, and Organic Living.


We have been honored to be included in on one of her Maine Garden Books and always appreciate the fantastic photos she donates to the project.
Suzy Perrine   Susy is one of latest artists in residence in the garden and we couldn't be happier about it.  She often been asked to demonstrate weaving to schools but we had a new weaving twist for her to attempt with us.  A weaving hut that would act as a gourd trestle and shaded shelter. The finished product can be seen on her website click here.  The process is better explained in the article covering the steps Susy took with the kids to plan and build the hut.

susySusy has worked with thousands of people building a
number of woven structures in the Twig and Bamboo and Twig Hut Construction Project. An entire fifth grade class at the Samuel Slater School in Lincoln, RI participated, (250 students and even some teachers!) in the Human Loom Project, weaving a structure 18 feet wide, using humans as the heddles and shuttling through the opening on hands and knees with a long strip of fabric as the weft.
chris nelson 

Chris Nelson Our financial guru over the last six years, Chris is the Cheif Investment Officer at Bangor Savings Bank and has spent a lot of time with us planning budgets, researching investment strategies and the stock market, and teaching best small business practice.  Chris has overseen our small business plan projects each year, guiding students to preparing a completed plan that could be accepted at any bank.  The students work was shown as a model for financial education to the bank community of Boston and the Maine Learning Results committee for economic education.  For the last three years, Mr. Nelson has also led many of our garden stock teams to rank as some of the best in the Maine State stock competion, 7-12th grade. Chris also started a finacial blog for the students in the Garden Project.

      This project has become a nationally recognized teaching model that encompasses an outdoor learning experience by providing a school-wide, organic garden and greenhouse project where all children and many community members participate. 
      Students function at a high level while involved with the Garden Project as they are given increased independence and responsibility in an exciting and safe learning environment.  During the past eight years students have harvested and redistributed approximately 58,000 pounds of all natural food and flowers.  Their product goes to the school district's cafeterias, garden stand (on campus), students/staff, local Soup Kitchens and the Coop,