With the foggy chill in the air, it’s hard to believe summer break is here. Hopefully some second graders will stay true to their words and continue working in their nature journals we started together in our garden this year!
The past few weeks have been a flurry of saying goodbyes and tying up loose project ends. I sadly will not be coming back for the 2015-2015 school year, but Samantha Arcata is on her way as Spring Valley’s new Education Outside garden educator!
Our beds are sheet-mulched and ready for the summer. Thanks to the 2nd graders in Room 12 for helping to tear newspaper and pull out old plants to lay down as decomposer food underneath the cardboard sheets. We hope this process will continue to build up life in our sandy soil! We also unearthed seemingly endless carrots in the process (purple, red, yellow, and orange), which we thoroughly enjoyed after our hard work.
One of the final projects of the year was building a raised bed to hold up a trellis to block some wind from whipping into our outdoor classroom. I want to extend a HUGE thank you to Mrs. Rivera for spending this entire past weekend with me at school to get this project in the ground! She helped me to negotiate unexpected underground water pipes and dying drill batteries to bring this vision to life.
Our garden has undergone a LOT of transformations these past two years (from asphalt to a living community)! Check out the progression…
And our outdoor classroom…
We also added a rainwater cistern and compost bins as some additional teaching and sustainability tools!
It has been such a pleasure to work at Spring Valley for these past two years, and it is with a very heavy heart that I have to say goodbye. I feel incredibly lucky and thankful to have had the support of such a phenomenal, diverse, and curious school community to begin the design of this garden and outdoor science education program through Education Outside. Thank you especially to all of the parents, students, and teachers who offered up their weekend time to complete projects in our garden! I am excited to continue to watch from afar how the garden grows and develops into an even richer ecosystem and learning space – and to hear about all the surprises that pop up (like these unexpected cabbage buds around where we harvested the cabbage head for our spring rolls!).