I’ve been trying to post pictures of kids’ hands discovering in nature over the last two months. Last week I visited KidSpace Pasadena to share my new book Dig In! and my new twitter campaign #1000HandsDigIn and loved their new Arroyo exhibit. An arroyo, in case you don’t know, is a dry creek bed. A beautiful arroyo runs through Pasadena, and this exhibit is about the ecosystem of the arroyo. It meets all of children’s needs to experience nature with all of their senses. Here are photos of spaces where children can play in wet sand, mud and clay, make adobe bricks, weave with flowers, climb an eagle’s aerie and wear an eagle costume, go under a waterfall and splash in the water, build a sand-moving machine with dry sand and build a fort with sticks, hide in a nest of sticks and read a book, play music on nature’s own instruments. It was truly an amazing, inspiring and beautiful place for children to blossom and connect with nature.
Spanish Shawl January 29, 2016
Is there anything more elegant than this nudibranch, a Spanish Shawl, fluttering in the tide pool at sunset? My photo is not great, but the being before me was magnificent last week in the low tide tide pools north of Scripps Pier.
Inspirational Compost! April 3, 2015
This week was a week to deal with our compost in the school garden:
- moving a bin — and finding a million mice;
- aerating the large pile
- watering the pile
- writing about everything we saw.
Here are some of the things we wrote about. Compost is very inspirational! Who knew?
Swimming Through the Cave September 14, 2014
While I have been swimming the mile at the La Jolla Cove most of my life, I had never swum through the Caves until this year. Several caves open up under the cliffs, and one is wide enough to swim through. We were surrounded by sea lions who had pulled themselves up on the rocks, including this mother and pup. The current was strong — and a little scary — but it was an exciting adventure. With water so warm this year — over 70 degrees — we can stay in the water for a long time. What we see in the water changes every day — today I saw an odd jelly fish with a blue rudder on top and, of course, sea lions everywhere.
It is school garden season again, and this year I am teachinggardening to grades K – 5. We’ve been busy cleaning up, and have found lots of very wonderful bugs in the process. Fig Beetles dig in the dirt of lay their eggs — and so I find their babies, grubs, in the garden beds. Harlequin bugs, a little bug I haven’t identified yet, and cabbage butterflies, are among our latest many-legged friends to visit the garden.
This was a record year for weeds in the Explorer Garden! A whole crop of amazing parent, staff and community volunteers helped get it ready to use again.
This year’s garden plan will include a garden remodel, courtesy of a team of 9th graders from High Tech High, and our Whole Foods Foundation grant. They will raze our garden to the ground, pull out rotting raised beds, and create a garden plan using Sketch Up. We can’t wait for the work to begin — sometime in mid to late October. Meanwhile, we can enjoy the garden as it is!
Tiny Sierra September 2, 2014
Just returned from another beautiful week at Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite researching my picture book biography of Ansel Adams, to be titled “Antsy Ansel”, which will be published by Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt publishers in 2016. Experimented with the various zoom lenses on my point-and-shoot camera and focused on the smallest, most amazing aspects of nature I could find:
Potatoetry Reprise May 11, 2014
Our potatoetry project was a great success. Every 2nd grader got to know a potato as a sensory object. Each child wrote a poem, and then we collected a line from each poem and formed them into a single group poem. The children wrote their lines on a painted tire, and then we planted potatoes inside the tires. Here’s a link to a blog post I did for National Poetry Month! http://www.ekristinanderson.com/?p=8814
Fallen Tree makes for Loose Parts Play March 13, 2014
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
Support Green Schoolyards in San Diego! March 10, 2014
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