Saturday, September 8, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
We built our herb container large--eight-by-eight-feet square--to be the centerpiece of our school garden. We knew we wouldn't be able to reach into the middle of such a large space so we built a second box, half the size, and set that in the middle of the first box, turned 90 degrees to make a sort of compass effect, since the theme of the garden starts with the four compass points. We've been growing herbs and flowers in the space between the two boxes.
We put a lid on top of the inner box, thinking eventually we would use it as a platform for some kind of fountain. But then Elizabeth had the brilliant idea of removing the lid and lining the smaller box and filling it with water. So on any given day you could find Elizabeth sitting in the box, lining it first with sheets of rubber to make it leak-proof, then breaking up ceramic tiles and cementing the pieces to the box to make this very cool ceramic enclosure.
Elizabeth also purchased a small solar-powered fountain for the pond and we finally had our water feature. It wasn't until this week that I finally got around to focusing on some plant life for our pond. I stopped at Bittersweet Nurseries outside Annapolis for some ideas and walked away with several plants, including a water lily, cattails, a water hyacinth and several others that are very familiar but whose names I do not know.
These are all perennial plants that will come back year after year, even if the water freezes. The water lily will set out lovely yellow blossoms at some point. You can also buy annuals that float on the surface and make flowers. A few small fish from the pet store should help with any mosquito larvae that may try to make a home in our pond.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Take another look.
That's right! These girls in our After 4 gang are all sitting down. That's something new for our garden. Because up to now, we've never really had anything to sit on.
But thanks to the good people at the Wardman Court Condominium Association, we now have five new park benches.
The association, located just up the hill from us at 13th and Clifton Streets NW here in the District of Columbia, recently donated the benches to Children's Studio School so that visitors to the garden can have a place to sit and relax.
People like to eat lunch in the garden or contemplate the beautiful flowers and herbs. They should have a place to sit and enjoy our space.
Our good friend Darren, who also helped build the garden, lives at the Wardman Court. He heard that the condominium association was looking for a new home for these benches and thought of us. Darren also helped disassemble the benches and transport them to Children's Studio School.
The benches are a cool green color--just like most of our plants--attached to black-colored iron legs. The legs are actually very long because they are designed to be sunk into the ground or into concrete. The legs have to be shortened so that people can sit in the benches. Baba Jose and Mama Elizabeth are working with a metal grinder to cut the legs down to the correct height.
Four of the benches will be installed around our central herb planter, where Mama Elizabeth and the After 4 gang are now assembling a solar-powered water fountain (we can't wait to see that). The fifth bench will be placed in the playground area where it will make a huge difference for our artist/teachers, who up to now have had to find folding chairs in order to sit while they are supervising children on the playground.
These benches are making a huge difference in the garden and on the playground. Thank you, Wardman Court Condominium Association, for thinking of us and making such a great donation!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
Fish have cancer there.
When sun shines in the river
the water is blue.
River in D.C.
It is really polluted
And it has sewage.
Dashes to river
just like a big rocket ship
Flying high in sky.
"We went to the Anacostia River. We got there by vans, trucks, and cars, and we rode on a little boat. Mr. Josh's company name was Earth Conservation Center-- the ECC. Mr. Josh was a boat rider/captain. We learned about sewers and ducks and birds and flowers and fish. He told us that if you litter and it starts raining, it will come out at the Anacostia River. Then, we saw a bird flying with a fish; it was very odd."
"I've never been on an exciting boat ride. Josh said we shouldn't litter, because then the earth won't be healthy. I learned that a park is better for a river than buildings. The best thing for the edges of a river are wetlands and miles of trees, especially the Weeping Willow. Then, we have a healthy river.
The Indians discovered the river first. They called it the "Country Trading Center." The one thing I noticed was everywhere we went there was lots of sewage and Captain Josh said, if you litter on the ground, the trash will go to the river. "
"Captain Josh told us about littering, then Nia started chanting, "No more littering!" Captain Josh said maybe you should save your energy and say it to the buildings. We all said it loud to the people on the bridges and in cars."
--Aiyana, Princess, Quennie, Devinity
Thursday, April 26, 2007
People simply dump their trash into the Anacostia. Storm drains from the District of Columbia empty into the river. And when it rains heavily, much of the city's sewage system overflows and spills into the river as well.
That's right: When we get a heavy rain, your toilets dump right into the Anacostia. Hard to believe, but true.
Josh takes people on tours of the Anacostia almost every day. There is still wildlife on the river. He showed us osprey nests. We also saw cormerants and seagulls and a great blue heron.
We also saw some Canada geese. But Josh says the geese are a problem: They eat important wetland plants. Wetland plants along the river's shoreline act as a filter, remover harmful pollutants from the river. We need more wetland areas, but they have to be fenced to keep the Canada geese out.
Now, people give the river hardly a thought. They also dump their automobile tires into the Anacostia. Josh said the Conservation Corps at one point cleaned up a small portion of the river and collected more than 400 automobile tires. Also, everywhere you look trash is floating on the river, mostly soda bottles and plastic packaging.
This past weekend, the Conservation Corps filled 320 bags with trash from Kingman Island near RFK Stadium. But when we passed the island yesterday, the trash was back. Lots of trash.
The reason for so much trash is that people litter everywhere. And the litter gets washed down the storm drains and into the Anacostia. So the After 4 gang began to chant: No more litter! No more litter!
The chant grew louder and louder. It went on and on.
No more litter!
Monday, April 16, 2007
Recently in class we've been focused on learning about photosynthesis and vascular plant systems. These images show a papier mache tree the gang made. The leaves are made from their handprints, and if you look closely, you can see that built onto the side are papier mache layers that fold out, labeled: Outer Bark, Phloem, Cambium, and Xylum.
The class got so excited about their knowledge of how trees use light energy to make glucose, that they expressed a great interest in having a play on the subject. In this image, the kids are cutting out different lengths of light waves as costumes. There was much fuss over who would play the sun, so in addition to that role, we designated girls to play different lightwaves that penetrate our atmosphere, and thus a tree's leaves. Shown here are three little smiling rays!