From seed starting to upcycling and learning about how to create habitat, we've been busy making magic happen! Enjoy some photos highlighting the growth, learning and fun times
The seasons are shifting and Spring is picking up the pace. With fruit trees in bloom, starts in the ground and a chicken coop on the way, the garden is abuzz (literally) with life.
From seed starting to upcycling and learning about how to create habitat, we've been busy making magic happen! Enjoy some photos highlighting the growth, learning and fun times
Tomorrow marks the first official day of Spring! We have been preparing for the seasonal shift by starting seeds in the propagation house, learning about mason bees, mulching our soil and pathways and so much more.
Some exciting updates include the finished pond fencing thanks to the Geister family. The fence will allow us to safely fill and waterscape the pond and enjoy many years of water garden learning ahead. When we come back from Spring break, we'll be creating various planting zones and learning about native wetlands plants and animals with the River Otters and Blue Herons.
Seedlings are popping up left and right in the prop house thanks to the hard work of student seeders and waterers. We are excited about the mixture of veggies, flowers and herbs we have started and can't wait for them to mature to planting size in April. After Spring break we'll be starting warm weather crops like cucumbers, melons and squash to be enjoyed throughout the Summer and Fall.
Shortly after Spring break the Green Team will be heading down to the Oregon Green Schools Summit taking place at the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Our green team representatives will be sharing about Springwater's environmental efforts from our garden to solar panels and waste reduction activities. Stay tuned for updates from our Green Team as they share out what they've learned from Green Teams across the state!
When we come back from Spring Break we'll be offering an enrichment course to help plan for the coming of Springwater chickens! If you would like to be a part of this planning process, please feel free to reach out to Katherine at email@example.com.
The days may be short but our schedules are packed! We have been keeping busy out in the garden with planning for the upcoming growing season, cooking, seed saving and experimenting with worm bins and compost experiments.
The Foxes are getting ready to host a Farm-to-Table dinner fundraiser in support of the Outdoor Kitchen. As a result, we've been delving into crop planning and looking realistically at what we could produce in the garden for the dinner. We planted some additional Spring bulbs to adorn dinner tables as well!
River Otters are putting their compost knowledge to work and making predictions about the decomposition rates of various items-- from chicken nuggets to cheetos! Looking ahead to Spring, we are excited to finish the pond project started last year.
Blue Herons have been busy getting to know the Springwater resident worms. We are experimenting with creating our own worm habitats in order to learn more about their behavior.
Dragonflies are continuing to learn about various plant adaptations, from poisonous leaves to haustorial roots. Soon, we'll put our knowledge to work and create our own 3D "plants" out of recycled materials featuring various plant part adaptations.
Oak Leaves are exploring a seed unit as we wait for the Spring weather to dawn. We are having fun saving seeds, making seed mosaics and playing seed trivia!
5th-8th grade elective students have been having a blast making veggie sushi, herbal masala chai, rock art for the garden, and spearheading a zero waste lunch day.
December has arrived and with it cold, brisk and sunny days out in the garden. The hard frost has finally sent the Fall garden into its process of decay and Springwater gardeners are beginning to dream of next year's possibilities. Though not the most bustling season in the garden, Winter makes for a great time to study decomposition, propagation, native plants, worms and more. The Dragonflies have begun their Winter Inquiry unit on adaptation with a focus on native plants, Blue Herons are becoming worm experts, River Otters are deep diving into the science of composting and the Foxes are working on propagating native plants from the Pollinator Garden.
In garden electives, students have been busy cooking up beet hummus, fresh pesto, tomato sauce and more. Students in "Lotions & Potions" have been learning about fermentation and herbal remedies for cuts and scrapes. The Green Team is getting ready for a cafeteria food waste audit and taking action by teaching other classrooms about food waste and what can be done to prevent it.
In other news, we are so grateful for the generous support of the Clackamas River Water Providers for yet another round of funding to help us complete our new pond project. A big thanks goes out to the Geister family for all of their hard work on helping to gather materials and build the structures. Come Spring time, we hope to have the fence completed so that we can fill, plant and use our pond as a learning tool.
The Springwater Garden has been graced with sunshine as we take advantage of all that the harvest season offers. Student gardeners have been busy learning about native plants, enriching our soil with compost and cover crop seed, planting onions, garlic and winter greens, and saving seeds for the next planting cycle. With Winter just around the corner, we have been taking full advantage of the garden bounty. Students in the "Lotions & Potions" elective made use of native blue elderberries to create a tasty cold & flu remedy and learned the ins and outs of fermentation by making sauerkraut and Kombucha. Culinary students made pesto (see recipe below), coleslaw, and apple kale smoothies and our garden artists made nature mandalas and leaf prints to celebrate the ephemeral nature of the seasons.
Looking ahead to our Winter Inquiry units, we're excited to dive into topics ranging from Vermicomposting with the Blue Herons to plant adaptations with the Dragonflies and the magic of seeds with the Oak Leaves. The River Otters will be learning about compost and helping to establish our new three-bin system before transition to planting out the new water garden in the Spring. Our Foxes will be experimenting with plant propagation and learning about big-picture food systems issues.
Thanks to our community for supporting this vibrant program!
Springwater Student Approved Garden Pesto:
Check out our flower garnishes in the photos below!
Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth! Enjoy as a spread or sauce.
School is back in session and the garden is alive with the hum of Springwater student gardeners. Not to mention buzzing pollinators, the sounds of bubbling elderberry syrup, the trickle of watering cans and the swishing capes of our Green Team waste watchers! We have been enjoying the harvest and preparing for Winter with cooking projects, cultivating our soil, seeding winter crops and more. Students have been exploring the many changes from when they last saw the garden in June and now we are anticipating the changes to come as light wanes and temperatures drop. We had a blast making cider at Family Night thanks to the generous support of the Rassouli and Steed families.
Enjoy some of these memories from our first month back!
It's hard to believe we're at the end of the road for the 2017-2018 school year. The garden has gone through its yearly transformation and is currently a lush haven for humans and non-humans alike. We've been enjoying snap peas, radishes, greens, garlic scapes, turnips and so much more as we watch our summer crops growing. Students are already asking about tomatoes, melons and cucumbers that will be ready for them when we return in September. I am so grateful to have landed at Springwater this year & am happy to reflect on a year full of discovery, hard work and fun with staff, students and families. Thank you to all for welcoming me into this community-- I can't wait to return for another year come Fall.
This Spring we published a recipe book (pick up your copy at the front office!), ran a farm stand, planted native plants for pollinators, made our own chapstick, prepared fresh meals from the garden, built insect habitats, installed a pond, hosted students from the Oregon City Service Learning Academy, and of course planted hundreds of seeds and starts in the garden! Take a look at the photos below for a peek into what we've been up to.
A big thank you to all the families who signed up at VIP day to care for the garden this summer! We are so grateful to know the garden is in good hands.
Have a wonderful summer & please stop by the garden anytime you're in the neighborhood. Until next year!
Spring has brought so much growth to the Garden! Students and families have put in long hours to get our garden ready for the planting season. Now we're watching and tending proudly as basil, tomatoes, kale, radishes, peas, lettuce, cilantro, spinach.. and so much more grows steadily. We're looking forward to planting cucumbers, squash, melons, pumpkins, tomatillos and peppers! We've had a blast making mason bee homes, publishing a cook book, preparing for the Springwater pond and attending the Oregon Green Schools Summit. Looking ahead, we can't wait to debut the Springwater Farmstand at VIP day. Alongside the plant swap, consider supporting the garden by purchasing some fresh produce and a copy of the first ever Springwater Cookbook. Meanwhile, enjoy some photos documenting the unfurling of spring in the garden.
The end of Winter and beginning of Spring has brought some major developments to the Spring Water Garden! From releasing mason bees, revitalizing the Rain Garden with the generous support of the Clackamas County Master Gardeners, encountering wild bunnies in the greenhouse and starting seeds, the Spring magic is in full force. Students have been noticing the many signs of Spring-- rhubarb awakening, bulbs unfurling, and a host of wildlife finding home in our garden. Come by to see the transformation for yourself. A big thank you to the families who came out to support the garden during our Garden work party. Students are looking forward to spending time in the new bean tee-pee!
Coming up, the Foxes will be helping to plant out more of the Forest Garden and start warm weather seedlings, River Otters will be constructing their aquaponics and native pond model, the Blue Herons will continue to revitalize the Rain Garden by enriching the soil and planting native plants, Dragonflies will be planting flowers for pollinators and Oak Leaves will explore various habitats that our garden creates.
Meanwhile, the garden electives are hard at work creating an official Springwater Recipe Book, assessing the school's sustainability efforts, preparing for the Gresham Green Schools Summit, and building mason bee nesting homes.
Here's a peek into what we've been up to!
Take a peek into our winter gardening season-- the days may be short but they certainly are not dull! Here's a bit of what our students have been up to:
The 7th grade Foxes have been spending some time exploring the ins and outs of the food system and its many interconnected threads. We are looking forward to a visit to the Helping Hands food pantry in Colton to help stock shelves alongside Colton High School students this Spring.
River Otters have successfully started their Aquaponic growing model and are exploring the careful balance of the nitrification cycle. We've been taking advantage of nice days to sheet mulch weedy areas in the garden and build our soil.
Blue Herons continue their soil investigations in preparation for soil medium experiments and garden planning. We will also be culminating an amphibian study unit by sprucing up the rain garden and building frog habitat.
Dragonflies and Oak Leaves are becoming seed experts and experimenting with mini "greenhouses" to watch the germination process in action.
Garden Makers have been busy making found object art, bird feeders, beet hummus and homemade herb butter!
As the soil slowly warms and days grow longer, we are looking forward to planning our garden and seed starting in our green houses!
As we wrap up the final garden classes of 2017, we are lucky to be visited by the sun! Blue skies have been a welcome friend during our outdoor explorations. Coming back from the Winter break, students are looking forward to winter inquiry projects where they'll have the chance to explore aquaponic growing, how seeds travel, garden planning and more. Perusing seed catalogs is building our anticipation for the growing season!
Meanwhile, we've been busy in the garden exploring decomposition, practicing math skills via pumpkins & making beeswax candles. Students were able to enjoy late Fall harvests of bok choy, spinach, chard, radishes, lettuce, kale, cabbage, celery, sun chokes and herbs. Taking advantage of the bounty, our garden chefs have prepared salad, stir fry, smoothies and even veggie sushi. Enjoy the photos below for a taste of what we've been up to.
A big thank you to all the parent volunteers helping out with garden classes & the many donations we've received that bring these moments to life! Coming up, we've got a few things on our list to make Winter projects happen:
If you're looking for some inspiration to get those greens on the table, students loved this green stir fry we prepared:
Green Stir Fry
Wash your hands and all greens. Chop or rip greens into bite sized pieces.
Heat skillet on medium-high heat and add sesame oil. When oil is warm, add in garlic and ginger and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add in greens and carrots and sauté for 2-3 minutes until wilted.
Stir in soy sauce, lime juice and rice vinegar. Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until greens cooked to desired texture and liquids have cooked down.
Serve and enjoy!
As we close out October, I'm enjoying these glorious sunny days with admiration for all the hard work Springwater students have put into the garden these past two months. Planting, mulching, seed saving, building cloches, and cooking remind us that Fall is a joyful and abundant time to be in the garden. A highlight from the month was burying the salmon that the Blue Herons dissected in the garden-- we're curious how quickly they will decompose!
As the seasons change, our focus will turn to deeper investigation of inquiry themes including pollination, seed science, aquaponics (and other alternative growing solutions), nutrition, and food systems.
Looking for a delicious Fall recipe? Try our Kale Salad-- students rate it a 10!
September in the Springwater garden has been a whirlwind of tasty discovery! In my first weeks of teaching, I have watched students demonstrate so much enthusiasm, care and knowledge throughout our first garden sessions. From plant part scavenger hunts to making fresh pesto and preparing our garden beds for the Fall garden, there hasn't been a dull moment in sight! As the rains come and seeds set, we are looking forward to plant garlic, cold hardy veggies, and cover crops to feed our soil. Don't forget to stop by the garden during Family Friday to help prepare fresh salsa and to share in the remains of the harvest!
The Foxes worked hard this winter to build indoor raised beds for the Green Classroom. The beds are finally finished and the students have begun growing plants inside. We're looking forward to finally putting the "green" in our Green Classroom!
The Green Classroom has been finished and we've already begun hosting garden classes inside. This outdoor learning space was fundraised for by Springwater students and supported by the school in the spring of 2016. It was built over the summer and fall with Dana Geister's generous volunteer work and is now in the process of being transformed into a classroom by the students.
Almost every class produced a brainstorm of what they would like the greenhouse to look like, contain, and what kinds of experiences they would like to have inside it. It's the first step in creating a student-inspired and built learning space!
Five years after beginning this garden program, who could imagine what garden class looks like now.
I have just come back from the garden amazed by Springwater students. I’m not surprised that they forgot my basic lesson on how deep to plant a seed or what a bulb is—these are yearly, even weekly, lessons I reiterate throughout their years as students and in more complex detail as they get older. What amazes me is that when my quick lesson and instruction are over and I send the students off to garden in their small groups, they perform their tasks with the grace and confidence of older, more experienced gardeners.
They may just now be learning how tulip bulbs become dormant and use gravitropism to grow in the spring—these new words perhaps a muddled bit of information now floating through their thoughts—but they take to their hand shovels comfortably, dig the right sized holes, think about design and placement, and carefully pack their bulbs in for the winter. They chatter quietly, keeping in mind that the garden is an ecosystem filled with many homes. They calmly explore the mole holes they dig into and discuss what else lives in them. They keep their eyes on the cherry tomatoes they long to munch on when the time is right. They go about their tasks as only seasoned gardeners do: looking for seasonal changes, acknowledging the egg sacks and insects sharing their space, focusing on doing slow, careful work—the mark of a good gardener.
This class, in particular, I have taught since they were in Kindergarten. They were the youngest students to remember the prickly thistle jungle our garden resembled. They have weeded, mulched, explored, and nibbled their way across every inch of the space. And five years later, they explore the garden as collaborators, scientists, and each—individually—a gardener.
What an incredible gift to say that they have gardened nearly their entire life. What will garden class be like three years from now, when they finish their last year at Springwater? What kinds of gardens will these children grow?
So much growth has happened since we started the Garden Program 4 years ago. Here's is a snapshot of this year's development.
With the 2015 school year well underway, our school garden is thriving alongside Springwater students. All grades are delving in their garden studies, learning about worms, seeds, soil ecosystems, and how to care for our garden.
Student efforts to grow a cold season garden have been very successful, with chard, lettuce, onions, arugula, and a variety of root vegetables feeding out students all the way to winter break.
The middle school students are expanding the garden program to now include an oaks savanna and a rain garden. Keep a look out for updates on these great projects!
The 2nd-3rd grade Salmon released some of their Painted Lady butterflies into the garden today. Immediately, the butterflies were able to pick out flowers and begin drinking and pollinating! The students raised these butterflies in the classroom from the beginning stages and were so excited to see their learning and work pay off.