September/October garden tour (aka photo dump)

Every month or so I like to walk around the garden and catch y’all up on new things, beginning this month with our “farm to school” banners which Mr. Wells just hung outside the after school club.  This set features produce grown in San Diego County in the fall.  They add a lively, colorful element to this outside eating/studying area.

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My Garden Ambassadors are a hardworking group.  These two take charge of lunchtime composting.

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They love leaving me notes—a habit I encourage by leaving them notes back.

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Mr. Copeland stops by as the K/1st graders were showing off our new set of gloves in after school garden class.

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Lots of cool season planting due to having lots of space due to our spectacularly lousy summer crop:

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In after school class, sometimes we just play games in the garden.  With everyone occupied with fun stuff at the table, I can pull one or two students out for small jobs or teachable moments.

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We have been making cinnamon maple applesauce in our longer format classes during the school day.

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I’ve been printing the recipe in Thursday’s bulletin.  If students make it at home, they send me a photo, and I invite them to enjoy lunch in the school garden with friends.

Grace and applesauce

At school:

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At home:

Ryder:applesauce

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Finally, I’ve slowly been collecting “seasonal touches” to decorate the garden.  I saw this years ago at a school garden in San Fransisco when our garden was just getting started, and it was too much to consider at the time.  But now, I’m ready. Garage sales are a great place to find decor out of season.  This came from the Methodist Church’s rummage sale, and I think it adds a lovely autumn touch.  (Also, I bought the over-the-door wreath hanger which keeps the arrangement in place.)

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Garden Ambassadors wanted to put up Halloween decorations so they hung webs and spiders—appropriate for the garden!

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Up next:  Why is Mrs. Tree crying?  (Possibly my favorite post ever, next time.)

Thank you Sage Garden Project!

If you’ve been following along, you’ll know that this year we are working in partnership with  the Sage Garden Project who has generously gifted us with funds for a garden educator position, access to their curriculum and a scholarship to the Edible Schoolyard Academy this past summer. (Scroll down to read five posts about that magical experience.)  We were thrilled to welcome them to campus two weeks ago for the first time.  Garden Ambassadors made this poster for them.

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Garden Ambassadors greeted Program Director Dawn Mayeda and Garden Instructor Karen Saake at the front of the school with an apple pie—our local dessert!  Then we spent the morning giving them a tour, introducing them around school and receiving items included in the Sage Garden award….

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A huge treat that comes with the grant package is a fully equipped cart which can be wheeled around campus for cooking demos.  Unpacking all of the items that go in it was like Christmas morning.  Here I’ve displayed it all in one place.  Notice the mirror flips around to be a white board.  Feel free to drool.

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Also included in our box of garden treats were beautiful posters and banners which we promptly hung in the garden room and the garden.

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Julian Elementary is very proud to be an recipient of a Sage Garden Project grant.  Thank you to everyone involved for helping to grow our garden program!

Garden ambassadors, tour guides, rock stars

Another responsibility of our fifth and sixth grade Garden Ambassadors is to give tours.  I work with them on the how’s (shaking hands, making eye contact, friendly smiles) and the what’s (correct and succinct information, good stories, personal anecdotes) of being a good tour guide.  Throughout the year, when we have a guest on campus interested in seeing the garden, one of the ambassadors will be tapped to give the tour.  Last week an ambassador gave a tour to a pediatrician on campus for the day; another one recently spent her recess giving a tour to a group of parents visiting from a San Diego school.

Today all ten of them were “on.”  Our school celebrated Global Youth Service Day by holding a short open house to showcase to the wider community our service learning projects.  Garden Ambassadors also gave garden tours.  The last two weeks we have had three “working lunches” to prepare. The students spread out at “stations,” introducing themselves and talking about their section of the garden to each visitor that approached.

They were smart, poised and welcoming, and I was incredibly impressed, once again, by the level of leadership to which kids can rise when given the chance. (The seriousness with which they take their job is charming too!)  I was very proud of them, and I was also reminded of how much joy I derive from working with kids in gardens.

Tour guides in action, sporting offical yellow (5th) and green (6th) ambassador shirts

Ambassador talking to the local press

ESK manages the "honor herb" garden---take a handful of herbs for a quarter

"Early Start Kindergarten" (ESK) does worm composting in their classroom

First grade manages the "Boxtops" program which raises money for the garden

The K/1 classroom looks after the butterfly garden

Third graders are in charge of lunchtime composting