Posts by Natalie Hodson

Summer Harvest Party at Atwater Ave

My goodness, I can’t believe it’s already summer break! Time flies when you’re having fun gardening. I wanted to celebrate the end of the school year with an awesome craft project. We know why the sun is important to the garden, but it can do a lot of other things too, both good and bad.…

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Flowers A-Bloom at Atwater Ave

Class today at Atwater Ave was all about stopping to smell the flowers. Stopping to smell, and then looking for some brightly-colored floating stamen covered in pollen, and then seeing how the sepal forms…well, you get the idea. Students today learned all about the brains behind the beauty of a flower, and what each part…

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Planting for Friendship at Atwater Ave

Summer is here, and it’s high time we filled up all this empty space at Atwater Ave! I brought about 25 seedlings to the garden today, and I was sure my young garden friends would love to get their hands a little dirty. We first learned about a garden guideline that’s a little hard to see…

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Starting from seed at Atwater Ave

The first class of my last session before summer is already here! Students got to learn about the beginning and end of a plant – the humble seed! After students learned about the different parts that make up a seed, I asked them to help me with a seed harvesting experiment. Students got to use magnifying…

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Harvest & Party at Atwater Ave

Partying and harvesting is out and about at Atwater Ave Elementary! The garden is in full swing at Atwater Ave. Students celebrated their last class this session by helping harvest some carrots to make a beautiful salad. After pulling out some carrots, we passed it around to compare smell, texture, and looks to what we…

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Understanding Water at Atwater Ave

As everyone should know, water is a big deal in the garden. But where does it come from, and how does it reach us here in our semi-arid LA? Class this week was all about water – where it comes from, and how humans capture and control it. We talked quite a bit about the…

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Returning to our Roots at Atwater Ave!

My goodness, summer is here in full force already! Class was held on a windy day in the high 80s, and still our young gardeners were ready to go. Today was all about the things you rarely see. The things that creep up on you slowly, that thrive in dark and hidden places….that’s right, I’m talking…

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Earth Day Ecosystems at Atwater Ave Elementary

In honor of Earth Day, I decided to use classes at Atwater Ave Elementary to talk about ecosystems and interconnectivity. The garden is very important to us, but what relationship does that have in our everyday lives and in Los Angeles? We talked about what makes up our immediate physical environment, and what plays a…

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Flower power at Atwater Ave Elementary

Thanks to all the rain this winter in Los Angeles, the city is covered with beautiful blooms and scents. I decided that the flowers of our school garden and our city deserve a moment in the spotlight, so gardeners got a whole new appreciation of flowers in class this week! Students drew out different parts…

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A new spring class begins at Atwater Ave

Last week was the first class for a brand new set of gardeners here at Atwater Ave! It was also the first time I’ve had a repeating section of gardeners from earlier in the year, so I was very excited to jump right in. I spoke with all of the new gardeners about the things…

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Decompose like a Pro at Atwater Ave Elementary

Gardeners this week at Atwater Elementary got along like a 2-to-1 ratio of browns to greens in a compost pile! Oho, just a little trash humor for all of you readers at home. We talked all about the importance of compost and how to tell if a compost pile is healthy and effective. First, we…

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A Deep Dive into Trash at Atwater Ave Elementary

This class we talked about humanity’s number 1 byproduct: trash! The gardeners this rotation were already trash professionals, and were able to tell me what our blue, black, and green bins in LA are for. I wanted to speak with the students not only about the “what” goes in which bin, but also the “why” of…

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Sunshine and Beautiful Weather at Atwater

Week two at Atwater Elementary brought us sunshine and beautiful weather, making it the perfect day to get my young gardeners’ hands dirty. We started the week by learning the 6 different parts of a plant and all of the roles they play. Students drew the life cycle of a plant, from seed to shining…

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Garden Intro at Atwater Ave Elementary

  I’ve got a brand new set of gardeners this week at Atwater Ave Elementary! That means it’s time to whip this rain-soaked garden into shape for spring. It’s been raining pretty consistently for the past few months – hallelujah – and some things have started to look a little weather-worn. I spent this week…

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Atwater Elementary’s Harvest Party: Winter Edition

Somehow six weeks have passed already. This Ranger is honestly flummoxed with how fast time flies, but even I can’y deny… it’s time to party! With the garden looking truly spectacular, and the romaine already coming back after a first harvest, I figured a fresh garden salad was definitely in order.   The students brought in…

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Compost To-Go at Atwater Ave Elementary

Ah, the penultimate day of classes is always so bittersweet. The best news was that the weather finally cooperated today, and we could go outside and see what the rain brought. I for one was not so happy to find that our dinosaur kale had gone a little sideways. It may be hard to tell…

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Poems on a Rainy Day at Atwater Elementary

    I’ve got to admit, I came back to Atwater this week with a slight feeling of trepidation. Three weeks of winter vacation, plus all this lovely rain?! I had no idea what I was going to walk into!     Well, you heard it here, folks…plants apparently love rain, and I came back to…

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Parts of a Plant, Holiday Style at Atwater Elementary

It’s beginning to look a lot like winter in the Atwater Ave Elementary school garden! The weather is cool, the sky is cloudy, and our cold-weather crops are giving us a big old smile. We spent this class learning all about different parts of a plant and what they do! Students drew out the 6…

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First day of classes at Atwater Ave Elementary

It was the first day of garden class for many new students at Atwater Ave Elementary this past week. Most of them are brand new to gardening, so I’m very excited to get them introduced to a whole new world of soil, seedlings, and magic! We spent most of today playing some garden introduction games…

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Harvest Party at Atwater Ave Elementary

The last day of our rotation was all about healthy habits. We know how to identify healthy, wholesome foods in the garden…but how do we carry those habits into a grocery store? What’s the difference between organic and regular foods, not just for produce, but for cereals and snacks? We talked about the most popular…

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Learning about Seasons & Holiday Foods at Atwater Elementary

This was our last day of class before Thanksgiving, and food was obviously on my mind today! Gardeners learned all about seasonal foods this lesson, including why our traditional holiday foods are so linked to the weather. Nowadays we can go into the grocery story any old day and buy watermelon, turnips, and corn, all…

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Pests & Beneficials Run Free at Atwater Elementary

This week at Atwater Elementary, we went back to basics. We just saw how the human world decides our ultimate American competition with the election process, so I wanted to delve into all of the microscopic competitions playing out in our very own garden. These photos show beautiful, bountiful examples of vibrant greenery – right? In…

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Seed Experiments at Atwater Elementary

  Last week gardeners at Atwater Elementary learned all about different parts of a plant – from seed and back again! This week we took a closer look at seeds – where they come from, and what they’re made up of, especially in plants that don’t produce fruit. There were two great examples of non-fruiting…

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Learning the Parts of a Plants at Atwater Elementary

Second week with my new gardeners was all about learning the 6 parts of a plant, and the role they play. Let’s all pretend I didn’t go to art school and please excuse the drawing above – sketching under pressure is tough, guys!   Students matched descriptions of actions with the different parts of the plants,…

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Welcome new gardeners at Atwater Elementary!

The first day of the new semester began with a bang! The garden was full of pollinators, our seedlings were popping, and my new gardeners were ready to explore.   We went over garden guidelines, especially the importance of asking before harvesting! We played a game of “identify the plant,” where volunteers had to identify…

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Harvest party at Atwater Elementary!

Last week was the last day of classes for my first rotation at Atwater Ave Elementary! It was also the first day I was back from a trip abroad, so it was a bittersweet day indeed. In my absence, the eggplants grew and thrived, and you can see one of the many pollinators in the garden…

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Atwater Elementary Say Hello to their Sprouts

Things are coming up in Atwater Elementary! The seeds we planted the first week are making themselves known – we can see squash, garlic, and garden beans starting to grow! Thursday was a great day to sit back with some basil-mint-lemon water and talk about photosynthesis! We learned about the different parts of a plant, and…

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Atwater Elementary Discovers Beneficials and Pests

The second week at the garden was all about exploring different relationships in the garden – the friend and the foe; the beneficial and the pest. We learned the most common garden pests and beneficials, including ladybugs, aphids, and assassin bugs. We also learned about our very own very current pest, the spittlebug, which leaves…

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Welcome back, Atwater Elementary

Welcome back, dear Atwater students! The garden is looking good – here you can see some of our citrus coming in, and dinosaur kale wandering about. Today was our first day of class, and I was so excited to get started!   Today the students had a refresh course in the garden. We went over garden rules and…

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