Graveyard Poetry, Pre-Calculus, and Shoveling April Snow For May Flowers In The Learning Garden

Shoveling Snow LG2013Although snow covered much of the compost when students arrived at school earlier this spring, but that didn’t stop a brave and motivated group of New Vista High School advisory students from shoveling and moving compost, clearing our gardens out of a foot of snow, digging weeds and spreading compost over all of our gardens! Just in time to take advantage of the moisture brought in by the next spring snowstorm!

Many beautiful vegetable and herb signs were designed and painted by students in Marco Demartino’s Advisory Group. The signs will be proudly displayed in our Learning Garden as well as in our “Garden Against Hunger.” Our Garden Against Hunger is a collaboration with the Boulder Food Rescue and we will help tackle their mission to put an end to hunger by growing and providing food for those in need in our local community.

Learning Garden SignsWe launched the New Vista Gardening Club that met once a week on Thursdays for the last month of school. Members helped prepare the Learning Garden beds for planting and they later planted one of the beds with colorful varieties of carrots and beets.

One of the intentions behind the Learning Garden was to develop an integrated curriculum across all disciplines at the high School level. Martin Park’s Pre-Calculus class brought this vision to life. Martin designed an exciting project for the students with an end goal of raising awareness for the school gardens. In our pilot lesson, we discussed variables that Pre-Calculus Lesson Planeffect plant growth and then headed out to the Learning Gardens to plant. Several varieties of Lettuces, along with spinach, radishes, arugula and calendula flower seeds were planted.  Students have been monitoring and watering the beds and taking data on variables such as soil moisture, soil temperature, and air temperature and have been collecting data on plant growth. Their results were presented along with photos, at the End-of the-Year Student Exhibition!

Students in Vanessa’s Gothic Literature Class studied Graveyard Poetry and following their poetry lesson, students were brought out to the garden to learn about earthworms. The earthworms were to serve as inspiration to write their own graveyard poems.  Students didn’t have to dig deep to find an abundance of earthworms in our Garden Against Hunger beds, a great sign that our soil is thriving and full of life! Students learned about the significance of worms in the garden, as well as the role that worms play in creating compost to minimize waste in landfills and to feed our soil. Students gathered organic matter in varying stages of decomposition from in and around the garden and added it all to our new vermicomposting worm bin. Our red wiggler worms are happy in their new home, working hard to create nutrients for our gardens’ soil!

The Earth Task Force planted the remaining beds in our Learning Garden. Several varieties of kale, as well as swiss chard, carrots, beets and flowers were planted and our gardens are well on their way to providing food for ourselves and for those in need in our community!

A huge thank you goes out to Eco-Cycle for donating a truckload of beautiful compost to New Vista High School, which is now a Green Star School!  The nutrient rich compost, which arrived in coordination with New Vista’s Service week, will help our gardens produce an abundance of deliciously healthy vegetables and Pre-Calculus Poseherbs for our students and community! And thank you New Vista Staff for helping to engage our students in our school gardens and thank you New Vista Students for helping to get our gardens off to a happy and healthy start!

Summer Vacation is here and our school gardens need your help! Meeting times, dates, and planting days for student volunteers are currently being scheduled! Community Experience Credits are available for those who dedicate some time to help maintain our gardens over the summer. Please Email Melanie Goldbort with any questions or if you would like to be involved!

This article was written by Melanie Goldbort, Learning Garden Coordinator.

The Learning Garden is a Cottonwood Institute-supported program at New Vista High School in Boulder, CO made possible by a grant from the Utah Society for Environmental Education and the US EPA Region 8 Small Grant Program. Learning Gardens are a product of The Kitchen Community in Boulder, CO.

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