Archive for February, 2010

Breaking ground on new garden area!

Many classes have been involved with breaking ground on a sad, unused area of space next to our play field. Jeff’s science/math class has been studying food with Anthony, so what better way to get to the heart of it, then to get growing! Orca has an incredible garden program, but we have lacked the capacity to grow and eat more food. Now we will have an amazing garden space after all the hard work of various classes. If we are going to study and teach sustainability, isn’t organic gardening a very real experiential opportunity? With this space, students can have more opportunities to plant, grow, nurture and harvest yummy organic food. It was great to get these classes outside too, after a long period of grey and cold Seattle weather.

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Signs of spring in the garden

The weather has been amazingly sunny and it seems that spring is upon us (though the nights are super-chilly). We can already see the signs of young growth on our plants. Mints, roots, berries, and native plants are all poking up. Soon we can begin planting and getting plants growing. Students are planting many herbs and veggies in the greenhouse, so we can get a jump start on the spring planting season. Onward!

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The salmon have grown up!

Well they haven’t quite grown up all the way, but they have made their way from being eggs, then alevin (still with the egg sack attached to their belly), and now to parr(absorbing the egg sack). They are now swimming around the tank and even got fed for the first time yesterday. They are being “tease fed” as they learn to eat, much like human infants. Orca students are super excited about the coho salmon and are constantly crowded around the tank to check them out. They have a few more months to go before they are released into the wilds of Lake Washington. For now students are learning about the salmon’s life cycles and doing scientific observations of them.

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Environmental Science Night- Thurs. Feb. 25th

Curious about biodiesel? Want to learn more about gardening? Wonder how Orca makes a connection between gardening and sustainability? Want a night out with fun, games, and a positive message?

You can expect lots of fun, hands-on exhibits, food tastings, games, workshops, and so much more at this event. Student lead activities will showcase the science and sustainability education they are experiencing. Learn about the Orca Garden and its connection to science curriculum in the classroom. There will also be “green” businesses and community organizations that want to make more connections to your community. See you there!

Thursday February 25th from 6-8pm in Orca’s Auditorium. 5215 46th ave. S.

Fun and education rolled into one.

Fun and education rolled into one.

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McFood & Corn

After seeing this incredible video, it had to be shown to students so they could get a visual of the science of decomposition. Why would a food not break down? The 6th grade math/science class thought it was hilarious, jaw dropping, and highly entertaining. This really connected with our unit on food. BTW- youtube is an amazing tool for mini-lessons!

Students also watched the part of the movie King Corn, where two guys try and make high fructose corn syrup from scratch. Nobody will allow them to see how it is made in factories, so they go through the crazy process themselves. Watch the video and check it out.

Corn syrup is in so many products that Americans eat and drink, it’s important to examine how and why. This lesson is part of an overall examination of the food we eat, where it comes from, and how it affects our health.

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Remember those rainbow chards planted in October?

Students transplanted over 100 rainbow chard plants that they grew from seed. It will be enough for a huge productive garden this spring. As we get ready for our giant planting projects, they are getting some great experience. We are finally getting outside in the garden and greenhouse too! We just had the warmest January ever, we do believe that spring is here.

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The INSPIRATION of Will Allen

Will Allen visited Seattle and hosted an informative Q & A session with local community leaders, city policy makers, activists, educators, and more. Will Allen is doing amazing urban agriculture work in Milwaukee, Chicago, and beyond. He is setting up garden and compost manufacturing in urban neighborhoods on a massive scale. We personally made a lot of connections for people that want organic starter plants from us in the spring.

Will really inspired us to fully realize the potential of our incredible greenhouse. So we got to planting more lettuces and spinach immediately! Food Production year round!

Check out Will Allen at http://www.growingpower.org/

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