Salad is where it’s at…

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The end of year celebrations were fabulous around here as we ate salads fresh from the garden. What’s so special about a salad you might ask? The Orca garden has a lot of fresh greens and herbs so that kids can customize their own salad. We had plenty of chives, mustard greens, kales, chards, fennel, edible flowers, and even mint to add to a normal selection of romaine and heirloom lettuces. Kids grabbed their own scissors and bowl and commenced to visiting their outdoor salad bar.

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Many students have said more times than I can count that they do not like salad but they love to eat salads at Orca. We make sure we grow a healthy assortment of edible goodies here to keep these ravenous rabbits satisfied and curious about eating fresh freshness from the garden. It is my feeling that when a child’s mind is open about fresh greens this early in life, then we might just have a healthy kaleĀ  and salad lovin’ adult in the future. And one who supports local, organic urban farming!

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Adios 5th grade!

So long 5th grade! Many students are moving to different middle schools, so this was a very bittersweet goodbye! I have known many of these students since pre-k (!) and have really seen them grow and grow. I of course made them celebrate this important milestone by eating a fresh, organic, local, and free Orca salad. These are some very special and talented youth who I know will take their garden knowledge out into the world and make it a better place. See ya!!!

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Orca garden screen prints!

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To end an awesome year on a good note, we screenprinted an Orca Garden design on posters and t-shirts for students. They turned out great!

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Stay tuned because we will probably do this next year also. Enjoy the prints!

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Kindergarten celebration caesar salads!

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Incredible salad garden

Today was the last garden day for kindergarten and what better way to celebrate it than to eat some delicious caesar salads…We tried an audacious experiment of combining both kindergarten classes for a celebration- it worked!

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The matriarch of Orca: Marletta

Thank you to all the parents and students for their support this year in the garden. We couldn’t have done it without your support, enthusiasm, and curiosity! And extra special thanks to my two favorite kindergarten teachers ever- Marletta and Jim. Enjoy your summer.

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Feeding worms scraps!

It was fun to feed our food scraps to the worm bin. A fitting end to a fabulous year. see you in 1st grade! BTW- the kids loved the salad!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The case for joy (and choice)

The freshest of fresh

The freshest of fresh

Let’s make the case for joy. Pure unadulterated child-like garden joy. I think we as educators know that joy is an integral part of learning- that when we have ecstatic experiences, we remember them, cherish them. This joy really comes out around here when students have choices, when they can guide their own explorations, and follow their own interests in the garden.

Daddy long legs

Daddy long legs

“Free exploration time” around here is not recess- it’s actually something more profound and meaningful. Whether you are interested in bugs, spiders, berries, mints, or whatever- you can choose, and that is very powerful for kids.

Have a bouquet

Have a bouquet

The experiential nature of the garden really impacts kids, they learn of course, but maybe more importantly- they remember! When they can taste or smell or touch something- it’s a powerful sensation. And when they make a choice to do that, it is even more powerful.

Tomato brigade

Tomato brigade

Seeing kids take a tomato home that they grew was really great because it was theirs- they could choose to take it and plant it wherever they wish. They can harvest and eat it at will.

Have a tomato, any tomato

Have a tomato, any tomato

The Orca garden really works to impact kids, foster critical thinking, nurture choices, and create joy. Ask the kids- they love this class and that really is important because they care, it means something to them. It’s the Orca way.

Mint fizzy drinks

Mint fizzy drinks

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Environmental Science Night 2016

It was a night of fabulous science projects, experiments, and creative academics. Thanks to all the parents, teachers, and students who supported this awesome night.

5th grade had individual poster boards that examined different environmental concepts that kids were passionate about. 4th grade had some amazing food experiments, examining food labels, and critically comparing the nutrition in foods. 3rd grade made some incredible native plan books. 2nd grade studied different animals and created projects for them. 1st grade has been studying butterflies and even brought in a basket of chrysalis’. Kindergarten studied earthworms vs. composting red wigglers AND made posters with examples of all the plants we see, smell, and eat in the garden.

Big thanks to the Audubon for coming through and sharing experiments and real stuffed animals that live in Seward Park.

 

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Seed Bombs! (The peaceful kind)

Art and science hit a huge high point this week as we got our guerilla gardening on in the greenhouse. Using clay (thanks Stacy!), we covered and filled cool art creations with seeds. Time to plant seeds in unused space with the flick of a wrist! We had visions of vacant lots, parking strips, street medians, and more! No one can know the actual germination success rate of this project as kids spread hundreds of these across their neighborhoods. BUT!!!! This is about hope, vision, and the concept of reclaiming unused space for plants, pollinating flowers, and veggies. Did I mention that the kids loved doing this? They surely did.

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