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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- http://www.issaquahfish.org/

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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Sunflower seeds + milk carton= joy

Marletta’s class planted Orca sunflower seeds harvested last fall, and put them in milk carton planter boxes. Recycling at its finest! Then they walked back to class and drew 4 part comibc strips about the process a sunflower takes to become the magnificently tall plant it is.

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