Garden lessons, school garden

Back to Class

As the state of Washington comes together to take care of each other and get the vaccine–making it safer for students to return to school–Nicole and the students haen able to get back out into the garden.

Some of the most recent lessons that the students have been working on involve learning about pollinators! Nicole and the students are not only learning about the functions and form of pollinators, but they are also designing their own. Engineering pollinators from materials is a great way that students can practice Next Generation Science Standards that keep them on track for science and environmental literacy. 

In the school learning garden, students get an opportunity to search for real live pollinators and observe what colors of flowers they are attracted to. The pollinator color investigation reinforces the importance of pollinators in our garden and gives students the chance to come up with ways to encourage more pollinators to visit our school garden.

Since Spring is here, learning about the pollinators is a great transition back into the garden after a year and a half away. As we welcome your students back to the on campus gardens, they will notice changes that they or their peers have helped participate in during one of our many work parties.

During the work parties, we have added a few new beds, including a garden bed style from another culture. The newest bed, called “Hügelkultur”, is a form of German mound gardening. The unique hill shape allows for the sun to hit it in different ways so that more sun-loving plants can grow on one side, and more shade tolerant ones on the other. It also allows for more plants to grow since there is more surface area in the bed than if it were on a flat surface. Finally, it is made out of logs, which will decompose over time, adding rich compost to the soil.

During the work parties, we have added a few new beds, including a garden bed style from another culture. The newest bed, called “Hügelkultur”, is a form of German mound gardening. The unique hill shape allows for the sun to hit it in different ways so that more sun-loving plants can grow on one side, and more shade tolerant ones on the other. It also allows for more plants to grow since there is more surface area in the bed than if it were on a flat surface. Finally, it is made out of logs, which will decompose over time, adding rich compost to the soil.

If you can, join us for our final garden party this Sunday, June 6th! We will be further beatifying our already gorgeous Cascadia Learning Garden.  

Job and Volunteer opportunities

Meet Taylor

Meet our newest team member, Taylor! Taylor Carstens (she/her/hers) is a current senior at Arizona State University studying Earth and Environmental Studies with certificates in Environmental Education, Environmental Humanities, and Cross-Sector Leadership.

Being from Auburn, Washington, she is excited to work with Foxberry Education to support her local community. In the fall she will be attending the IslandWood Graduate Program in Education for Environment and Community at the University of Washington. Some of Taylor’s favorite activities are baking bread, brewing kombucha, talking about mental health, and playing with her cat Grandpa.

Uncategorized

DIY Self Care class- sign up today!

Saturday 1:00-2:30PM PST/ 4:00- 5:30 PM EST
January 23, 2021

Instructor:  Nicole Parish

Treat yourself to a fun, relaxing, self-care experience. Gift as a holiday or birthday present, or host your friends for a safe, socially distanced spa day at home! In this workshop, you will learn how to make four awesome projects for self care using 8 simple household ingredients. We will be making bath bombs, face masks, salt scrubs, and hair masks to use during or after the party!

All students will receive the Zoom recording of the workshop to watch at their convenience for two weeks after the workshop. Participants may choose to observe the virtual workshop and work later, but you may also work alongside Nicole during the demo.

Recipes and a tool list will be sent to participants who register through Sonoma Community Center.

school garden

Community in the Time of COVID

Despite the sometimes seemingly insurmountable uncertainty facing folks these days, the Cascadia School Learning Garden has remained a place where people can feel a sense of belonging. In addition to continuing garden classes this season, the school learning garden has been able to provide families with produce, seeds, starts, and a place to safely and tangibly connect to the school itself.

And, as Garden Teacher Nicole likes to say, when you take from the garden, you must give back to the garden. The Cascadia community has done a tremendous job at giving back. Students and families alike have found a sense of connection by participating in our garden work parties this Fall. We have maintained appropriate social distancing and adhered to the district guidelines while weeding, mulching, harvesting, winterizing, and tree planting, making a lasting impact for years to come.

A garden symbolizes hope. It represents faith in a brighter, better future.

The Cascadia Learning Garden is no exception. It has been there for families in this time of need, as they have been there for it. It will continue to bloom, grow, be fruitful, and whatever other garden metaphors you can think of as we continue navigating these trying times as a community with the common goal of staying safe, healthy, and connected.

Uncategorized

National Pollinator Week: 3 Ways to Help Pollinators

Happy National Pollinator Week! I know what you’re thinking- Pollinator week is every week. Well, that’s true. But this week, we wanted to highlight the amazing creatures that pollinate our fruits and vegetables, and allow us to have healthy, delicious foods. In this post, you will find (at least) three different ways to help your local pollinators, and fun, hands-on pollinator friendly activities to do with your family around.

  1. Food

When I talk to kids about pollinators, I like to ask them what they think pollinators need to live. Their needs are similar to ours! Food, water, and shelter. What do pollinators eat? Nectar, and often, pollen, from flowers. As the pollinators visit the flowers, some of the pollen rubs off on each flower they go to, which is the process we call pollination. This is how plants make their fruits and seeds. In order to attract more pollinators, you should provide a wide variety of food for them- not all pollinators like to eat the same things! Butterflies are attracted to red and orange flowers, and bees’ favorite colors are blue and white. Meanwhile, hummingbirds love trumpet-shaped flowers. In addition, you want to think about the time of year your blossoms are blooming. It is important for a good pollinator habitat to have something in bloom almost the whole year- from February to October when they are most active. 

One thing to think about if you have a garden is letting some of your veggies “go to seed”. For instance, letting radishes flower creates a great food source for butterflies and is pretty to look at until you need to plant something else! 

A fun activity to do with kids is making Pollinator Seed Bombs. This is a quick, simple, messy project that’s good for pre-K and elementary aged kids. Watch Foxberry’s video on how to make this project here:

  1. Water

Like humans and other animals, pollinators need a water source! When thinking about water for pollinators, remember bees can’t really swim! When their wings get wet, they are unable to take off and fly again until they dry off. Therefore, you don’t want to keep a deep bowl out as a water source for bees. One thing you can do is put marbles or rocks in your bowl for the bees to land on and sip from. Using a shallow dish like a plant saucer works well. First, find some rocks from the garden, and arrange the rocks in the dish. Then fill the container with water just up to the level of the rocks. Place it somewhere in the shade so the water doesn’t evaporate too quickly. 

Butterflies, on the other hand, prefer drinking from mud. This behavior is called “puddling”. Butterflies get the salt and nutrients they need from the minerals in the wet soil. You can help these colorful fluttering creatures by creating a butterfly puddle! Again, find a shallow dish, like an old pie pan or plant saucer, fill it about halfway with soil, and mix in water! Make sure your butterfly puddle stays wet all summer so butterflies can sip from it. Place the mud puddle somewhere visible, but where it won’t dry out too easily. If you want to, you can decorate it with pretty stones for the insects to land on or place rocks in a fun pattern in the mud. In the early spring, this is also a great project for mason bees, which require mud to make their nests.  

  1. Shelter

Creating a place where pollinators can live can be a bit more tricky. “Pollinator hotels” are generally used for nesting. Which materials you use for pollinator hotels depends on which pollinators you want to attract. Mason bees, for example, come out in early Spring, around March, and need tubes about ¼ inches wide and 3-6 inches deep. Leafcutter bees, however, come out in the summer and need tubes or holes only 8 millimeters wide! Other materials such as dried leaves and moss can also be used as nesting material and to add an interesting look to your design.

Here is a really great resource on how to make a DIY beneficial insect hotel: https://www.fix.com/blog/guide-to-making-your-own-insect-hotels/


Like this topic? Check out these other resources!

Pollinator activities on KidsGardening.org

City Fruit Pollinator Bingo