O/N BOCES landscaping and grounds class learns about growing oyster mushrooms

Posted 2 March 2021 at 2:38 pm

Pictured form left include Landin Flynn (Orleans Learning Center), teacher Jay Kaplewicz, Abigail Garver (Lyndonville), Austin Furness (Albion), Steven Cerros-Secore (Medina) and Allan Bieber (Albion).

Photo and press release from Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – 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.

“We were learning about mycology, which is the study of fungi and its relationship to plants,” Kaplewicz said. “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,” he said. “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.”