Posts by Andrea Trujillo

Welcoming EnrichLA to Jefferson Elementary!

The Jefferson school garden got a makeover this summer by the magic of EnrichLA.  Over 10 new redwood planter boxes were installed along with a drip irrigation system, shade sail and chalkboard for the teaching space! I am so excited to be their new Garden Ranger, teaching garden classes once a week and maintaining all…

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PASSIONate about Gardening @ Kester!

  It’s a pleasure to be back in the garden with Kester Elementary after a long summer away!  So many treasures were awaiting us to explore, like a hiding watermelon, banana peppers, and a giant zucchini! A review of the Garden Rules, like Respect for all living things, 2-Finger touch, walking feet, asking before picking…

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Battle of the Bugs at Stevenson!

All my students love when they hear that today is all about BUGS! Let’s talk about what bugs are beneficial to the garden and what bugs are pests.  They were sad to learn that their beloved roly polies were not so great for our plants and surprised that those scary bees are SUPER beneficial to…

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Good Bugs vs. Bad Bugs @ Kester!

It is every kid’s favorite lesson in the garden: BUGS!!  So fun to surprise these kids with what bugs are beneficial to the garden and which bugs are pests.  Although roly-polies are a much-beloved favorite for this age, these invertebrates are not so great for the garden, and even though bees might scare them a…

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Presenting Our Research on Food @ VNMS!

Its a rainy day at Van Nuys Middle School, but perfect timing for the middle schoolers’ presentations of their Food Projects!  Each group had been given a different crop: tomato, corn, peas, and watermelon. So proud of all they learned by researching BOOKS, instead of the internet. 🙂  They definitely taught me a thing or…

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Everyone Has a Part to Play at Stevenson

As spring starts to get closer, it is time to prepare a new area in the school garden for crop rows!  This part of the garden was left empty after an overgrown fig tree was removed last summer.  So, I had sprinkled some cover crop of rye and peas a couple months ago, just to…

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Battle of the Food Groups!

What makes a fruit and what makes a vegetable?  No matter what age, this still confuses many.  First, I wanted to give these middle school students a shot at dividing these groups themselves.  So, with some flashcards of different fruits and veggies they decided which belonged in the Fruit category and which belonged in the…

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Turning Over New Leaves

The garden is getting greener and greener these days so it was a perfect time to teach the kids about the important work of the LEAVES!  As they grow, they are absorbing sun, water, air and nutrients to create food for the rest of the plant.  The magic of photosynthesis takes place in the leaves…

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Flowers & Honey

We got to talking about flowers today!  With the help of some lilies, whose reproductive parts are very obvious to see, the kids were able to locate the pistil and stamen, along with the fun of touching pollen! It was easy to understand how this messy, powdery dust sticks onto the bees because it ended…

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Blooming Botanists!

It’s all about flowers in the garden at Stevenson today.  We picked flowers and dissected their parts for closer investigation.  We talked about how important pollinators are in the garden, especially our great friends – THE BEES!  They bring the pollen from flower to flower and successfully transfer it into the pistil.  Then, what do…

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Loving the Garden!

Today was all about spreading the love around the garden for Valentine’s Day!  With seed paper hearts in hand, the kids were very excited to love on the garden. It was a great opportunity to talk to these Kinders about the plant life cycle.  I told them their seeds in the hearts are sleeping because…

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Let’s Talk Soil at Van Nuys

We are in renovation mode at Van Nuys Middle School.  So first step is SOIL!  The kids were a great help in loading bags and bags of fresh healthy soil into these empty beds.  Like mixing a recipe in the kitchen, we made sure to mix up the new soil with the old soil until…

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New Ranger in the Garden at VNMS!

It was my first day at Van Nuys Middle School as their new Garden Ranger!  We spent a nice introductory lesson sharing our name and favorite fruit/veggie.  One student claimed dragonfruit as their favorite. Many of us had never tried this before, so I proposed he bring one into class for everyone to experience one…

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Givers & Takers in the Garden

Today we talked about crop rotation in the garden.  As some plants start to die and the seasons start to change, we need to figure out what to plant next? Two great ways to categorize edibles in a garden are Givers & Takers.  Most plants are Takers: they take nutrients and energy from the soil…

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Greens & Browns Make the Compost Go Round!

It’s a New Year at Kester Elementary and time to teach these kids about composting!  They are fortunate enough to have a compost tumbler, so we can see a more compact and accessible way to get it done. First, we went over the what compost is and why we should compost in the garden.  It…

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Cabbage Patch Kids at Stevenson

When you see a beautiful purple cabbage in the garden, you just have to make it the star of the show!  So, I let one of my students pick this beauty and had some other students pick some supporting roles for our snack today.  They added some white radish, snap peas, and nasturtium. I couldn’t…

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Rainy Day Salad at Stevenson

Although the rains have passed, the garden is still pretty wet and muddy so teachers opted for a “in-class” lesson today.  No problem!  I brought the garden to the classroom and made a “Parts of a Plant” salad.  Snap peas as the fruit & seed, green onions for the stem, Bibb lettuce for the leaves,…

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Giving Gifts in the Stevenson Garden!

It is the “Season of Giving” and our Mandarin Tree was loaded with beautiful little orange gifts to give!  I talked to the kids about what kind of gifts we can give back to our trees to say “Thank You”.  Fruit trees might not like bicycles and legos, but they sure like soil amendments and…

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Merry Go Round the Compost at Stevenson!

At Stevenson, today we got to talking about compost!  I talked to the kids about the beautiful harmony and cycle of compost, and how we can use the old and dying organic matter and turn it into new soil for new growth and possibilities in the garden!  While compost can be very complicated and some…

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New Class in the Garden at Stevenson!

It’s always so exciting to welcome a new class into the garden!  It is so important to utilize this time to go over garden rules and behavior, so we start things off right from the start.  I like to describe these rules as “agreements” because we are a team in the garden and we all…

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Soil pH is pHascinating!

We added to our garden journals this week with a very important topic: soil!  I talked to the kids about two important functions of soil: water retention and supplying nutrients to the plants. We got to really dig in there and feel the texture of our soil.  Is it spongy and moist or dry and…

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Soil is the Soul of the Garden!

At Stevenson, students got to dig into some soil and learn about soil chemistry!  I explained to the kids how important soil is in the garden.  Just like a healthy heart is important for your entire body, so is healthy soil important for the entire garden. We tested two important elements of soil: texture and…

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International Tour of Food @ Stevenson Elementary!

After teaching a lesson on food origins, I had students at Stevenson Elementary do some research on countries in their ancestry and native foods to those areas.  It was awesome to hear their stories and learn new food facts. As the final conclusion, I put all that information on a display for them to see…

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Surprising Sprouts at Kester!

Last week, I challenged the students to sprout seeds without soil.  We came back in the garden this week to find our answer and … the seeds had sprouted!  The kids were fascinated that with just air, sun and water, the pumpkin and sunflower seeds were able to sprout. It was a great opportunity to…

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Herbal Bouquets for a Thanksgiving Feast!

At Stevenson Elementary, we started off the day with the answer to our garden challenge:  Can seeds sprout without soil?  The answer is … YES!  The kids loved seeing all the sprout parts so clearly. Since, Thanksgiving was a few days away, we took the opportunity to collect herbs from the garden.  We were able…

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Challenging Ourselves in the Garden at Kester!

Today we started off with a Rainbow Challenge to see if we could find all the colors of the rainbow in the garden! Some colors, like green, are easier than others, like blue.  They loved seeing the blooming red pineapple sage in all its glory! We talked about doing this challenge at home when they…

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A Day of Garden Challenges at Stevenson!

Today we started off with a Rainbow Challenge to see if we could find all the colors of the rainbow in the garden! Some colors, like green, are easier than others, like blue. They loved finding bugs hiding in the garden with great, bright colors. We talked about doing this challenge at home when they…

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Witches’ Brew in the Kester Garden!

“I’ve got magic, alakazamakazoo!”  We were feeling witchy today in the Garden at Kester.  I told my students that during Halloween time, I turn in my farmer’s hat for a witches’ hat and make magic brew!  So while we toured the garden, I asked them to grab one mint leaf to add to the pot.…

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Studying leaves and photosynthesis at Stevenson Elementary!

Did you know that leaves not only make their own food, but breath and sweat?!  My students were fascinated to learn that leaves have small cells called stomata, that are like leaf “lungs” to breathe in carbon dioxide and create photosynthesis!  Leaves are also full of chlorophyll cells that absorb the sunlight and give leaves…

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Learning parts of a pumpkin at Kester Avenue Elementary

In celebration of the first week of Fall, we discussed pumpkins, all their parts, and their purposes.  The kids were fascinated with how big a pumpkin leaf and flower can get!  All the better to make food with and attract pollinators. We also talked about the changing season and how struggling tomato plants were going…

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Learning about our Family Seeds at Kester

Did you know that most of America’s favorite food, like oranges, apples and tomatoes, don’t originally come from here?!  That’s right! Our fruits and vegetables have such interesting stories to tell about how they migrated here and have traveled all over the world!  I bet you would be surprised to know that although the Irish…

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Seeds and Solutions at Stevenson Elementary!

At Stevenson Elementary, we studied the parts of a seed and related this stage in the plant life cycle to their beginning of a new school year.  I was so impressed how they used their poetic and deep thinking skills to make an analogy between a plant life cycle and a school year.  They took…

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Back to School & Beating the Heat!

It was so great to be back at Stevenson Elementary this week as school is getting back into action.  Being their new garden ranger isn’t the only change that has happened over the summer. Their garden space went through a lot of construction, in which, they gained some new space, but removed a dividing fence…

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Back to School Seed Study at Kester!

I am so happy to be teaching at Kester Elementary this year and back in my hood of the valley!  I love the idea of starting off the school year with a study on seeds because it relates so much to the beginning of the kids’ school year.  I explained to them how they are…

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