Archive for April, 2010

Ladybugs & Pre-K

Beneficial insects and the cutest kids in the world. These pictures are some of my most favorite that I have taken this year. They are starting to get comfortable around the camera and that makes for somebeautiful portrait shots. Enjoy.

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Flowers, beneficial insects, & companion planting

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Along with the ladybug craziness (see below), we procured an abundance of beautiful flower starts- marigold, snap dragons, and dahlias. We talked about the importance of attracting beneficial insects and pollinators. Every student in the 1st and 2nd grade got to plant a flower. We had lots of help from volunteer Andrea, whose positive energy helped her float around the kids as they planted and got excited about flowers.

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Ladybug craziness!!!!

Ladybugs are such a beneficial insect for the garden- they consume aphids by the ton. Kids also love to search and gently play with them. At the nursery the other day, I spotted a bag of ladybugs for a measly $5. What a chance to talk about beneficial insects and the flowers that attract them. There was plenty of yelling and screaming from the tickling sensation of a bug crawling up your arm. They loved it.

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Strawberries and kids oh my!

Lets beef up that stawberry patch, fill in the holes, and make sure that we have an abundant harvest. Here at Orca, we are always looking for ways to increase food production. And if there is one thing kids like to eat, it’s strawberries. So we planted more in our patch and they will soon be producing an abundance of delicious berries.

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Salmon released! Happy Earth Day!

From egg to alevin to frye to smolt, the salmon came a long way at Orca over the course of the last few months. They are finally swimming in Lake Washington, out of the smelly Orca tank, and into new beginning. If only we all could be so lucky to have such an amazing rebirth! The excitement was on par with a mini-riot as classes walked to Seward Park and cycled through the salmon release area. With only 100+ salmon to release, we had to have groups of students grab a cup and scoop one out to release. As it was Earth Day today, the middle school classes even grabbed garbage bags and cleaned up the park. Environmental stewards to the max!

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Plant Sale May 8th! 10am-3pm

Get your veggies (everything from collard greens, broccoli, chard, spinach, to our world famous tomatoes), herbs, native plants, flowers, mothers day gifts, and more! It’s gonna be amazing- come support your local school garden program by purchasing organic plants grown by students.

Located at Orca K-8 School: 5215 46th Ave. S. Seattle, Wa. 98118

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Salmon will be released this Thursday for Earth Day!

Oh the trials and tribulations of the salmon tank. Fortunately it has worked out for the best BUT not without some frustrations and heartbreak. We had little help from the district or fish hatchery, as we were a little late in getting our tank from another school and getting the refigeration unit fixed. So it has been a learning process for us, but well worth the running around and complications.

It was sad that many fish died during Spring Break after a filter clogged. But I tell the students that more survived in the tank than probably would have survived in the wild. The tank is getting cloudy, the salmon are getting big, and it is finally time for them to realize their life’s ambition of getting really big and laying more eggs upstream.

FYI- we got the salmon from the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery-

To celebrate Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, we are going to release the salmon at Seward Park on Thursday! Students will have a little ceremony and celebration. We talked a lot about Native peoples in this area having such an important connection with salmon and we hope students have developed a more personal relationship with that history.

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More garden joy and spring love

You know its a good day when a garden tour for kindergarteners includes:
1. Feeling lambs ear
2. Touching natures toilet paper
3. Tasting 3 mints
4. Having cherry blossom blizzards rain down on them
5. Eating garden sorrel
6. Looking at salmonberry leaf butterflies

These students are loving being outside tasting and touching new plants. The connections! The fun! The joy! The amazing connections being made with the natural world!

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Haikus and Garden Joys with Melanie’s class

Haikus in the graden? Yes yes yes. Where else could you get non-stop outdoor nature oriented inspiration in sunny Columbia City? So while I pulled kids into the sweaty greenhouse to transplant, other students got meditative with their words and poetic musings. The garden is an incredible resource for cross curricular activites- art, creative writing, poetry, math, gardening, sustainability, etc. It truly is an outdoor classroom.

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Maidi’s class enjoys a beautiful garden day

The garden is alive and magic is afoot- we planted a bunch of sprouted potatoes, onions, and lettuce seeds today. Also- every first grader today got to plant a sunflower seed wherever they wanted! They will be 10 feet high in no time (just like these kiddos). It has been a refreshing change to have the whole class outside for the entire garden time. They have really been able to be a part of the the garden sprouting and coming back from a cold winter.

Big thanks to Hannah- our UW Pipeline volunteer who will be helping out with Monday’s classes and MILLIONS of transplants.

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