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A Homage to Weeds March 25, 2014

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 6:16 am

Amazing photos of plants by Kim Douillard, SDAWP director in San Diego — so close up it almost makes you dizzy!

Thinking Through My Lens

I’m fascinated by weeds.  They have a way of surviving in the most unlikely of circumstances, even when they are directly and persistently attacked…like the dandelions in our lawn!  And on a lazy Saturday, a day where I am trying not to have the cold this tell-tale runny nose is suggesting, I’m still looking for an interesting photo or two to snap.

So, after wandering around my yard, I spied a patch of dandelions and other assorted weeds that have hijacked an abandoned pot of dirt and the ground around it.

I love my macro lens when weeds are concerned, it takes me in close and lets me see the magic and beauty of what often is mistaken as ordinary.  So with the macro attached, my phone and I headed out to a corner of the yard.  I’m particularly interested in unfolding buds, like this one.

Dandelion bud-macro

The string-like petals remind…

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Fallen Tree makes for Loose Parts Play March 13, 2014

Filed under: Environmental Education,Everything Under the Sun,Gardening,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 5:41 am

When a tree fell in the school garden, we used the opportunity to create a fort-making space. With the addition of a box of nature play materials, we have the start of a Loose Parts Play set. Children are using all the loose parts in the garden to create a world, learn social-emotional skills, and have fun! Here’s a link to further reading about loose parts play. http://www.readingplay.co.uk/GetAsset.aspx?id=fAAyADUAMgB8AHwARgBhAGwAcwBlAHwAfAA4AHwA0

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Hanging Succulents in the School Garden

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun,Gardening,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 5:33 am
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hanging succulentsLast year’s third grade students made these picture frames into hanging succulent gardens with the help of Alissa Rose. Check out her tiny succulents-in-corks business on Etsy at www.etsy.com/listing/59746796/succulentcork-magnet-monterey

 
 

Incredibly Tender Cabbage

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun,Gardening — explorergarden @ 5:16 am

Incredibly Tender Cabbage

I have never been fond of cabbage. When I have grown them, they have been tough and stong tasting, and full of aphids. Perhaps it is because of what I learned at Wild Willow Farm about spacing plants, but these, the first big, beautiful cabbages I have ever grown, are sweet and tender and aphid free! I made cole slaw out of half of a head and will use the rest in fish tacos!

 

Green Schools Conference – See You There

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 5:11 am

This would be really cool to go to!

Educating for Sustainability -

4th Annual Green Schools National Conference

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March 26-29, 2014

Sacramento, CA

Green Schools National Network

Join Antioch University New England’s David Sobel and many others for one of the largest national gatherings of ‘green school’ administrators, advocates, designers, operations managers, teachers, students and parents.

David Sobel will be presenting in the workshops:sobeldavid

  • Curriculum that Advances a Sustainable Future
  • From Here to There…Place-Based Education in Rural, Suburban, and Urban Communities
  • Bringing Sustainabilty Education Home

Visit the conference website for a complete listing of

workshops and registration.

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Book Review: Weeds Find A Way March 11, 2014

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun — explorergarden @ 3:55 am

I appreciate this lovely review of Weeds Find a Way — particularly the comment that few kids will actually experience nature by seeing a wolf, but all will experience nature through a dandelion. So true!

gardeninacity

Weeds Find a Way is a different kind of nature book for kids ages 4-8. You might wonder why I am writing a review of a kids’ book, as it has been many years since I’ve had kids in the house.

weeds find a way

Well, for one thing, I was offered a copy. But for another, reading aloud was an important part of the day when my kids were little, up until the time each of them turned around 12, at which point they got distinctly squirmy. And I think I often enjoyed the books we read as much as they did.

Never too early to introduce your child to books. This is Danny at about 8 months. Never too early to introduce your child to books. This is Danny at about 8 months.

In terms of books about the natural world, I remember reading aloud about whales, wolves, lizards, bats, and dinosaurs – LOTS of dinosaurs. We had two boys, you see.

What I like about Weeds Find…

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Support Green Schoolyards in San Diego! March 10, 2014

Filed under: Environmental Education,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 4:32 am

San Diego Unified School District has an unprecedented opportunity to give children access to nature as part of their Vision 2020 process of envisioning the schools of the future. You can be part of the process, too! You can enter comments for the SDUSD Vision 2020 forums. Go to http://www.sandi.net//cms/module/selectsurvey/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=1095 , and indicate that 0 will attend the March 10 forum, and then enter comments in the box.  The last meeting is on Monday March 10, 7-9 pm at Crawford High School. 4191 Colts Way (92115).

Anne Fege, with the San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative sent these comments to SDUSD members, encouraging them to take advantage of local resources to help children access nature:

“SDUSD has an unprecedented opportunity and obligation to provide the next generation with outdoor experiences that help them develop their curiosity and inquiry, a healthy lifestyle, a love of nature, and environmental awareness. The “green schoolyard” movement is gaining momentum globally and locally, and has the potential to improve the lives of every child, every day. Extensive existing capacity can be harnessed to work together, to invest in and transform quality Outdoor Learning Environments for students and teachers in every SD Unified school that support these Vision 2020 goals:
Schools will be safe, attractive neighborhood learning centers:  Enhanced schoolyard habitats can be established in partnership with local businesses, community and environmental groups. They can be “cross-generational” places where teachers, students, local gardeners, and other community members learn about gardens, natural areas, and outdoor play together.
Schools will extend beyond the school site:  Quality natural learning environments can extend into neighborhoods in parks, street trees, canyons open space, and playgrounds.  Field trips introduce students to the wonder of nature at the coast, nearby shrublands, canyons, mountains, desert, and nature centers.
Community volunteers and partnerships will augment the work of teachers in helping each student:  The local community-based capacity includes Master Gardeners, local landscape architects and other planners, the San Diego Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, about 200 trained naturalists, and nature educators in the San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative.
Anne S. Fege, Ph.D., M.B.A., Program Manager, San Diego Children and Nature Collaborative
A Program of the San Diego Science Alliance

 

 

 

Inspirations from Olivewood Gardens March 6, 2014

Filed under: Environmental Education,Gardening,Gratitude,Inspiration — explorergarden @ 6:58 am

I visited Olivewood Gardens , where I will co-teach a class in Starting and Sustaining Your School Garden on March 15. I am always so inspired by the gardens there and will bring back ideas for our school garden.

Swallowtail caterpillars

Swallowtail caterpillars

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A clever way to support blackberry bushes!

A clever way to support blackberry bushes!

Supports for berry bushes

Supports for berry bushes

Wheat, just beginning to grow strong!

Wheat, just beginning to grow strong!

The hidden world of the garden: A cool display about  insects and beneficial soil microbes

The hidden world of the garden: A cool display about insects and beneficial soil microbes

Young friends under one of many passionfruit arches. I want one of these in our school garden!

Young friends under one of many passionfruit arches. I want one of these in our school garden!

Concentric circles of herbs and strawberries.

Concentric circles of herbs and strawberries.

A tee-pea surrounded by carrots!

A tee-pea surrounded by carrots!

collecting water from the shed roof

collecting water from the shed roof

amaranth

amaranth

Another simple way to support plants

Another simple way to support plants

Tire garden -- we'll use these for our potatoetry garden!

Tire garden — we’ll use these for our potatoetry garden!

Hanging succulent gardens: volunteer Alissa Aldous helped last year's second graders make these to put on our own shed.

Hanging succulent gardens:
volunteer Alissa Aldous helped last year’s second graders make these to put on our own shed.

 

Weeds Find a Way Curriculum Guide March 2, 2014

Filed under: Books,Environmental Education,Gardening — explorergarden @ 4:37 pm

Weeds Find a Way has a new curriculum guide — written by me and published by Simon and Schuster —  on how to use weeds in your schoolyard science and writing programs.  Every teacher  at the SDSEA conference Picture Books in Schoolyard Science session received one, but  it is also available for download on my website at http://www.cindyjensonelliott.com. Here is a photo of the guide and our friendly worms, which we used in the session in our hands-in exploration of worms.

curriculum guide

 

Weeds Find a Way is on bookstore shelves

Filed under: Books,Gratitude — explorergarden @ 4:33 pm

Is it the height of nerdiness to run out of a store to grab your camera the first time you see your book on a bookstore shelf? With thirteen other books on the shelves of libraries and in schools, you would not think this would be so exciting, but it was a THRILL to see Weeds Find a Way in all it’s weedy glory. Thank you, bookstore owners everywhere for  making a plant geek happy and for bringing weeds to the world of children everywhere!

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