The Second and Third Grade students at Springwater become soil experts during their two years as Salmon. Ask them and you'll find that they can identify key insects in the garden ecosystem and they'll happily advise you on the best soil components for a healthy garden. They participate in all the other garden activities as well: planting, harvesting, seed saving, weeding. But all along, they think about the soil fertility, the importance of insect diversity, and the energy cycling of plants. These students are truly remarkable!
The Fourth Grade students take great pride in their year of studies. They become worm aficionados! From designing their own worm bin style to discovering worm internal anatomy, they will become passionate about the importance of these easily overlooked, yet essential creatures. They also have lots of fun with the seasonal garden activities, but always keep worms in mind as they do!
What's so interested about compost? A Fifth or Sixth Grader can tell you after a year in gardening class. Waste audits, studying decomposition rates of different materials, learning about the global and social importance of cycling waste; these are only a few key things that the River Otters explore. When they're not problem-solving food waste issues on campus, or mulching in the garden, they'll be studying how to develop a native plant garden! See above for more information.
By the time they reach their final years at Springwater, the students have become true garden leaders. They are integral to preserving and maintaining the garden by seed saving the heirloom and open-pollinated seeds, building trellises and raised beds, and keeping the garden paths safe. They learn the basis tenets of permaculture and use this knowledge to problem solve solutions for the garden and the school through exploring the hugelkultur mulching method, planting perennial and native plants, and actively maintaining soil fertility. They also get to enjoy the tastier rewards of a bountiful garden!