Go fish! Salmon Release 2017!


We stomped through the rain and wind 1.1 miles to Seward Park and released over 150+ of our Coho salmon that we had raised since they were eggs.


It was a powerful event after spending 3 months w/ these gorgeous fish in our greenhouse. These “fry” are super strong and ready to hit the wild!


With Coho salmon almost endangered this year, this event is a boon for the ecosystem and a chance for Orca students to really do something positive for our community. Students got a chance to partner up and give their salmon a nice inspirational speech before pouring them into Lake Washington.


First we had 4th graders scoop them out of the tank because they had a previously scheduled fieldtrip to SAM. We had to give them a chance to say goodbye.


Since it was so rainy, both kindergarten classes cancelled, so we gave them a chance to come in and name a fish while wishing it good luck on it’s journey to the sea.


We had a lot of parents come through and it helped make this a true community event. Thanks for all your support!



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Kale Caesar Salad!


Kids eating greens- one of the highlights of my life. It’s that time of year when we get rid of the old kale plants that are starting to seed and plant fresh seed and starters. So it’s salad time!


I hooked up some vegan caesar dressing, croutons, fresh parmesan cheese, and fresh lemon. We harvested the kale that is about to seed so that we can make way for the next crop. It was a hit! These kids literally had 2nds & 3rds & 4ths- they couldn’t get enough.


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See ya salmon!


It’s been an amazing last few months w/ our salmon. There were only 5 casualties (fairly low) and they are as big and strong as I have ever seen here at Orca. Our former science teacher Katherine Law and I revived this salmon program 9 years ago by hustling to different schools to gather the necessary equipment. We have released well over 1000+ salmon since then!


We are set for our release tomorrow w/ most of the school walking down to Seward Park and being part of this fabulous ritual. Yesterday was a blast in the sun when we did our annual salmon obstacle course…


Watch out for bears, hawks, and of course- people fishing!


This capped off s season of salmon activities, including the salmon dice board game…


and our huge mural of the salmon lifecycle done w/ kindergarteners in their hallway…


Thanks for all the support! See you at the release around 1:30pm Wednesday April 5th..

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Diggin’ the Spring


It has been great to finally get outside! The garden teacher’s dilemma is what to do in the winter that is not too cerebral & boring,  yet still hands-on, interesting, and delicious (eating garden food is popular around here and expected).  Let’s dig!


Well we get a lot of joy from feeling the sunshine while digging up and turning over the soil. The worms, the critters, the roots, the smell of fresh soil in the air- it’s an immersive experience. Just digging is a simple yet engaging experience. Dig it….


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6th graders & their tiny tomato buddies!


These 6th graders are a pure inspiration. In my quest to pull kids away from screens of all kinds & experience some serious nature, we got down and dirty w/ some  tomato transplanting. They planted the seeds originally and are seeing them through the next phase.


They have such green thumbs and a tender touch w/ these tiny transplants. I’m looking forward to this Spring when we can see, eat, and experience all this hard work in the garden. For now we focus on the process of gardening, getting our hands in the soil, and coming to a place where we all belong- The Orca Garden.


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Marletta’s birthday. My hero!


Last week was the birthday of my hero- the matriarch of Orca, the high priestess of  Orcan traditions- Marletta. Your favorite kindergarten teacher’s favorite kindergarten teacher. She has been a part of Orca for over 40 years since it’s start as a small alternative school in Fremont and then it’s eventual journey down south here.


There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t visit Marletta in her classroom when I am at school. She is THE inspiration for everything we stand for- progressive education, love & caring, individualized teaching, and pure awesomeness. Retire?? Never! I went and got her favorite cake (carrot) at Borracchinis on Rainier  and served it up w/ the 4th grade class I was teaching at the time. Then the band came in and serenaded her. It was a worthy celebration of someone I have learned from and been inspired from over and over. Viva Marletta!


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Mint tea for home (in sickness & in health)

We drink a fair amount of tea in the greenhouse. Students harvest it all fall and we let it dry and store it for the winter. But….


After the crazy amount of illnesses and sickness going around the school, it seemed pertinent to let kids bag some tea up and take it home. Now they can heal themselves and their families with some organic mint goodness. It’s the best medicine for many ailments!


We got some empty tea bags at Uwajimaya in the International District. They are fairly inexpensive (along w/ our tea leaves).

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