N/O BOCES students get hands dirty learning about fungi

Even though oyster mushrooms usually grow in the woods, Landscaping and Grounds teacher Jay Kaplewicz and his class decided to grow them in their classroom at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. The educator remarked, “We were learning about mycology, which is the study of fungi and its relationship to plants. We discussed how they are grown commercially and decided that would be a fun project to do in class.”

The class used kitty litter made out of recycled paper inside a plastic bag with holes punched into them and then added mushroom spawn. “The students were so excited when they grew,” says Kaplewicz. “They are gourmet mushrooms so we are sharing them with our Culinary Arts program and Food Service program for them to incorporate into their cuisine.”

The process took a little over four weeks. “It was really cool and was a great way to show students how you can grow something valuable out of waste products,” Kaplewicz said. “It gets them thinking about potential business ideas as well.”