This winter, our school garden educators have been teaching a few different lessons of our inaugural Junior Master Gardener lessons. These lessons, taught in conjunction with CSU Extension 4-H Agent Greg Felson, are a complete success! Since the 2nd grade students of Needham Elementary, Animas Valley Elementary, and Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary have gotten back from Winter Break, they have learned all about vermicomposting, Citizen Science, and plant needs!
Our vermicomposting lesson, taught in January, was full of learning and dirty hands! Vermi- is the latin prefix for worms, so guess what that means? TIME TO GET MESSY!! We learned how to construct a worm bin, how to care for it, and the benefits our worm friends have in our school gardens.
Last month, we learned about Citizen Science. This is when the people can become actual, real SCIENTISTS!! We partnered with the Community Collaborative Rain, Snow, and Hail Network (CoCoRaHS) to accurately report temperature and precipitation at their schools every morning. All of this data is sent to CoCORaHS, which then sends it to institutions such as NOAA, National Weather Service, and NASA to use to report weather or use in meteorological studies. Hopefully, we can graph all of this data to see how Animas Valley, Durango, and Hesperus get differing amount of rain & temps and what that may mean for our gardens. Pictured at the top of the blog post is Julie Schwieger's 2nd grade class showing off their weather tools at Fort Lewis Mesa Elementary.
Last but certainly not least, we are all learning about what plants need to grow! This is still a lesson in progress. So far, only Animas Valley Elementary has learned about the various things plants need to be strong & healthy. This lesson was not focused on botany, or even biology. It was more on play-writing and drama! Each group created a play based on something that a plant needs. We've even used an acronym to help remember, it's PLANTS!
P - Place. Just like humans, every plant needs a good place to grow up.
L - Light. For all of your photosynthesizing needs.
A - Air. They breathe so we can breathe.
N - Nutrients. Yes, your Mother was right all along. We all need our vitamins and minerals!
T - Thirst. Plants can get thirsty too. No need for La Croix, just some good ol' water.
S - Soil. Plants love to have some juicy soil to live on, possibly even some worm compost.
Stay tuned for the next School Garden blog post as we ramp up our garden education for the spring season!