From 4th and 5th grade science lessons to our first Crunch Time, the past few weeks have been all about apples in the Hardin School District. Starting off the apple craze, Fort Smith 4th and 5th graders sliced their way to exploring the availability of natural resources – yep, that’s right, I said with 4th and 5th grade ROCK STARS! With the help of Gala apples, we were able to get at the core of the issue by slicing the Earth (our apples) in fourths, then eighths, and sixteenths, and so on until there was only a tiny sliver left. This tiny cut of the apple represented the comparably tiny portion of potable water and farmable land out of the whole earth. It was a fun activity and great for visual learners, but the sweetest part of the lesson was definitely during the wrap up. As we are munchin’ and crunchin’ into our apples, I asked a take away question, “so, how should we treat our natural resources?” A brave student raised her hand and matter-of-factly told the class,

“Like a baby – we need to love and protect what’s left of our natural resources.”

Now if that’s not something to bite into, I don’t know what is!

The Hardin High School students echoed this this apple-based enthusiasm this past Monday as all six Hardin Schools joined schools, groups, organizations, and individuals throughout Montana for Crunch Time. As part of National Farm to School Month, this statewide event asked all those participating to bite into a locally or regionally grown apple at 2:00 PM. Hardin students, faculty, and staff did just that and definitely had the LOUDEST, CRUNCHIEST CRUNCH of them all with bites from Fort Smith to Crow Agency to Hardin. By delivering apples to the classrooms in the morning, high school students had all day to get ready for the 2:00 PM crunch. Students even joked that the earthquake drill the week before was to get everyone ready for the crunch Hardin was about to make! I’m not sure if we made an impression on the Richter scale, but we definitely took a bite towards healthy eating because so many students had stories about their crunch. So, for now, we’ll keep crunching away, apple-y ever after!

Elle Ross

Elle Ross
Hardin School District

The relationships she has formed and the people she has met through service are the biggest motivating factor for Eleanor in continuing to serve. While at Xavier University in Cincinnati, she served at the Civic Garden Center, where she first learned the value of service and community. After earning her degree in political science and international studies, with a minor in peace studies, she spent two years serving on the Crow Reservation in Montana. There, she provided academic support at Pretty Eagle Catholic Academy in Saint Xavier through the Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest. A self-described life-long learner, Eleanor is open to a future that lets her live out her values.