Sunday, March 5, 2017

Why I Do What I Do



The garden at Waddington Elementary has helped our children feel closer to nature and empowered to help protect it. We study live insects and draw and make models from specimens. The children hide their camouflage mantid sculptures in the school yard for someone to find and take in swallowtail caterpillars to raise into butterflies. We see bees stick out their tongues and animals leave their footprints. We look for evidence of tracks, scat, and homes, plant veggies, share salad, soups, and teas with our produce, and learn to work as a team. We brave the "jungle" hiking two miles down the street to follow a creek and have older students show us what lives in it. We make posters of our favorite creek creatures and were awarded a grant from the RI Environmental Council to produce these posters as signs to prevent litter. We paint and draw birds, make bird feeders, and track winter birds. We learn how seeds travel and design our own seed packs. We make art out of leaves and identify trees. It's non-stop exploration at our school, even measuring soil moisture and rainfall to track el Nino for GLOBE and NASA and designing our own anemometers! We do this all through collaborations with URI Master Gardeners Desourdy School Gardens program, Barrington Land Trust, ASRI, parents, other volunteers, and the environmental curriculum developed by Melissa Guillet through 15 Minute Field Trips™.