Kindergarten was getting down with some worms this past week in preparation for Environmental Science Night on Feb. 16th. They will be be showing you all the cool facts and info about red wiggler composting worms and earthworms.
It was pure joy ( a’ight- terror for a few!) as we picked up, studied, and investigated these cool worms. They are descendants of the original batch of red wigglers acquired 9 years ago from the Yelm Worm Farm .We spread them and the wormbin fixins all out on the table and had a blast.
We then got to make an artistic representation of what is inside the wormbins (fruits, vegetables, newspapers- yes. Nachos, sundaes, pizza- no).
Here in the Orca Garden Program, we try and incorporate Native NW culture & history into different programs & activities. For example, look at this quote from Chief Sealth of the Duwamish Tribe and the responses from our amazing 6th grade scholars. The responses were insightful and incredibly interesting!
The 3rd Graders are learning about Native NW plants and much of what they learn is traditional Native uses of plants as medicine, food, clothes, and more.
Today we stripped Western Red Cedar bark off the tree to demonstrate sustainable harvesting. The bark was used for clothes, baskets, diapers, and more.
It is through these reflections and investigations that we learn more about the Duwamish tribe. Their treaties have still not been honored and it should be compulsory to learn that we are on lands that were originally inhabited by these fascinating people. Today many students learned of Chief Sealth and the Duwamish Tribe for the first time. The #1 source of food for Native people was of course….SALMON! So as we grow our salmon, we see their history and connection to this land. Also we see the importance of being stewards for the environment and preserving their history and legacy.
It seems like only yesterday that we brought the salmon program back to Orca- but in fact it was 9 years ago, my first year at Orca. Our salmon program & release are a serious source of pride for Orca and something that students absolutely love to be a part of. Through the years, students learn about salmon life cycles, habitats, environmental dangers, and historical Native American connections to this incredible fish.
They start out as 200 eggs (Thank you Nancie Hernandez & the Salmon in Schools program http://sisseattle.org/). Students watch them grow through the alevin and fry life cycle stage until they are released into the wilds of Seward Park’s Lake Washington shores. See last year’s release here. Until that release though, we learn about salmon through art and science lessons that are creative, scientific, and fun.
This salmon game is such huge fun, teaching about the trials and tribulations of the journey of salmon in their short lifespans.
We even get in some serious math to get the true picture of the perils of salmon life.
And check out this panorama shot of our giant diorama in the greenhouse of the salmon journey. Enlarge the picture at the bottom of this post.
We will release them around Earth Day in April and we hope to see you there at Seward Park. Until then- watch them grow…