Archive for October, 2011

Mr. Butler’s class finds plants that heal

Gearing up for environmental science night, we studied 3 great medicinal plants that have healing properties. Mr. Butler’s class will have this as their ESN theme and a table will be set up to share their knowledge. We started w/ some mint harvesting and drank mint tea while talking about it’s healing properties. Mint is great for colds and even stomach aches. Then we got going on our calendula balm- this flower has great healing effects on cuts and scrapes. So we started making a balm out of it w/ olive oil and beeswax. Then we took a look at sword ferns and talked about the rhizomes on the underside of their leaves. These rhizomes can be rubbed on bug bites or irritated skin and reduce swelling and itching. There will be a lot to share on NOVEMBER 17th for ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE NIGHT!

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Harvest Festival K-5. Sun, fun, & Cider!

Turning wheat berries to flour for waffles

Our harvest festival hit maximum fun yesterday, as all the K-5 classes came out all day to get festive. This event is a celebration of all the hard work that students do all year in the garden. We get to eat, celebrate, and come together in a garden that we have all built as a community. There was our annual cider press cranking out apple cider, goat wool spinning, roasted corn, bamboo fort building, plant crowns/tiaras, crafts, and so so much more. These students grew EVERY plant in this garden, and it is only fitting that they be acknowledged for their hard work AND have some serious fun.


Thank you so much to all the amazing volunteers who really made this event happen. It takes a lot of adults to pull this off for the kiddos-we really appreciate your time and effort.

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Harvest Festival Middle School Celebration!


The Harvest Festival was a beautiful event celebrating food and the changing of the seasons. A chill was in the air, but we warmed up with soup, mint tea, pumpkin breads, and other great harvest themed foods. The students also got down on some bamboo forts, lavender sachets, and plant crown/tiaras. Much fun was had and it’s great to get a chance to just celebrate all the hard work in the garden.

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Worms, Sustainability, & Monroe Prison

I have been volunteering out at the Monroe Correctional Facility, teaching a class about music. I work with an organization called University Beyond Bars. It has been an amazing and challenging experience and has me excited about sharing my experiences there. It’s no secret that the prison population In the USA has skyrocketed in the last 20 years, reaching the largest prison numbers in the history of the world. I’ve met some amazing human beings that just want the chance to be human, and live life. When they heard about what I do as a teacher, they were really excited about sharing all the amazing sustainability work that they are doing involving worms and composting. They are building worm bins for schools- stay tuned for details on how to get set up with one!

Read about it here:

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Beet, Cabbage, & Chard salad- FRESH!

Is there anything more fun than gathering together and eating fresh garden food? We made a delicious red cabbage, beet, and chard salad from the garden- I just added a little bit of apple cider vinegar for taste. When I asked the students how many had never eaten a beet or red cabbage- 75% of hands went up. Success!

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Putting the garden to rest…..

It’s that time of year again- where we start laying mulch over the garden. It’ll protect the soil from the upcoming harsh winter. Fortunately though, many beds are still producing greens and veggies and can’t be mulched yet. We will have a lot to harvest for our Harvest Festival next week!

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A Kid, A Can, A Month FOOD DRIVE!

Continuing our quest for tangible social action and meaningful interaction with our local community, we are having a massive year long food drive here at Orca. A CAN, A KID, A MONTH! We have developed a powerful relationship with Rainier Valley Food Bank- they are a vital food security link in our neighborhood. This should generate more food and awareness for them. It’s also student lead and run! every student is encouraged to bring one can or package a month. We have 250 already! Our goal is 5,000 pieces for the year! Once the garden starts rolling next spring, the fresh veggies can start again too.

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Herbs for pizza & spaghetti sauce

Today we made “pizza pockets”- a pizza shaped envelope to carry away delicious rosemary, oregano, and thyme. This gives students a chance to bring the Orca garden home. Many students have told me before about amazing pizza and spaghetti sauce they made with their families, using our herbs.

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French fry art and local goodness

The facts!

Local, organic food, fresh from the garden. Though we don’t believe in frying everything to death, we do believe in having delicious snacks sometimes. Orca fries hit home. Jeff’s 6th grade Math & Science class really get a chance to explore the differences of local food vs. conventional food. There’s a lot at stake here in determining the future of our food systems. Our 1st graders have a less scientific approach, but one that is just as powerful. Be creative and share your knowledge.


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Harvest Festival October 26th-27th!

Harvest Fest is here! Expect fun games, fresh apple cider, stories, activities, and an amazing celebration of all our hard work in the garden. We have had the best harvest in Orca’s history and we intend to throwdown party style to acknowledge this impressive achievement. Each class will have their own time to come down for 40 minutes, it’s gonna be so much fun. This event is open to all Orca family and friends!

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