Homestead Ecology programs give students a hands-on learning experience through participation in Early American craft activities and the nature trail systems. With comparisons to modern day living, this program helps students to develop an appreciation of the colonial lifestyle and comparative technologies.
Students prepare a recipe implementing techniques used by the early pioneers. Emphasis is placed on simple cooking techniques, fire building and safety.
Pioneer Construction - The Log Cabin:
The techniques employed in constructing a log cabin and its furnishings are emphasized. Early American tools, such as axes, drawknives, gouges and adzes, are used.
Students construct an old-fashioned broom using natural materials including broomcorn (sorghum vulgaris), which was grown by early homesteaders.
The blacksmith played an important role in the Early American community. Students are instructed in the techniques and tools used at the forge and have the opportunity to work on a group project.
Corn Husk Dolls:
Students construct their own corn husk dolls while comparing their lives with children growing up on Long Island 100 years ago.
Students make a traditional hand-dipped taper and learn the history and importance of candling in Colonial America.
Apple Cider Making (Fall Only):
Using a cider press, students make apple cider and discuss the importance of the apple in the diet of the early settlers.
Native Americans / Primitive Technologies:
The skills, customs and games of Long Island's first inhabitants are explored through hands-on activities such as stalking, cooking, storytelling, and the use of primitive tools.
Students learn the basic techniques of planning and planting a vegetable garden. The importance of companion plants, composting, earthworms and insects are demonstrated. The influence of Native Americans in gardening ("The three sisters" garden) is also stressed.