Field reports from

Hollenbeck Middle School

The Hollenbeck Middle School garden was completed in Fall 2013 with the help of the Hilton Double Tree. EnrichLA operates as an after-school extracurricular for students.

Helping Literature Come to Life at Hollenbeck

6th graders at Hollenbeck Middle School have been studying narrative forms of writing this semester so we started garden class with an excerpt from “The Secret Garden”. We discussed how the main character, Mary, finds a dead looking garden that she desperately wants to bring to life. In the book, Mary discovers that the garden…

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Science Detectives at Hollenbeck!

Students at Hollenbeck practiced their observation skills when we tried to answer the question: “What happens to the wood chips we put in the garden path each year?” Students each established their own hypothesis and then gathered evidence to support their theory. Ideas included: Kids walking on the wood chips break them up into tiny…

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Proportions and Ratios at Hollenbeck

This week our math classes had a chance to start their own seeds, but first we needed to make rich, healthy soil for our plants. New plants require the perfect ratio of nutrients, minerals and structure in their soil or the seed risks molding or starving. To make the perfect soil we had a recipe:…

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Hollenbeck Middle School

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From Cooking to Hip Hop at Hollenbeck

Our English learners students at Hollenbeck started writing their own garden songs this week. They will be writing for the next few weeks until we are ready to film our own music videos. In the meantime, our special education class had a chance to practice our motor skills by planting seedlings and making a salad…

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Elements and Chemical Reactions at Hollenbeck Middle

We are diving into the chemical properties of our soil at Hollenbeck. Since our science classes have been studying elements and chemical reactions, this week we hosted a little science expirament to test the pH in our own soil. First, we studied the formula for combining baking soda and vinegar (an acid and a base)…

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Tracking the Elements at Hollenbeck

This week at Hollembeck we are building new garden mounds to reorganize the plants and make it easier to get into the garden. All these new beds mean we need some new soil, which is a perfect introduction to our lesson on soil nutrients and compost. Since our new garden class is studying atoms and…

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Rainy Days Mean New Life at Hollenbeck

As students prepare for a new semester of gardening at Hollenbeck, we start by brainstorming what we would like to learn. While we will continue our regular lessons and cooking demos, this semester we will set aside a little time each week to work together finding answers to questions the students come up with. We…

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Insect Drama at Hollenbeck

The garden insects at Hollembeck dont always get along. In fact, some of the insects eat other garden bugs! Today students at Hollenbeck imagined what the bugs would say to each other if they could talk. They then shared their ideas with each other in letters. Their letters were so funny, and their English is…

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Exchanging Brassicas for Butternut at Hollenbeck 

As the weather gets colder, our summer crops have been turning brown and dying back. right before Thanksgiving, the butternet squash finally ripened and we were able to clean out the old leaves. After a lesson on plant varieties and seasons, our garden classes pulled out the dead plants and planted new, cold weather brassica…

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Garden Storytelling at Hollenbeck

Students at Hollenbeck are working on English comprehensive this month, so we took those skills into the garden. First, we read a short story about a boy how starts his own garden. We had a brief discussion about the story as we read. Then students made up their own garden stories. The students were incredibly…

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Colorful Super Powers at Hollenbeck 

All the different colors in our garden veggies correlate to specific   Health benefits. This week we studied those special plant powers and brought them all together in a tasty, super-powered smoothie. We even added green chard and kale! At first students were skeptical about how the chard would affect the flavor, but after they…

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Sprouts and Surprises at Hollenbeck

The garden at Hollenbeck has been busy this week! Several seeds have sprouted and we now have new beets, radishes, carrots, spinach, and lettuce.  Additionally, our compost has almost finished the transition to rich, healthy soil. We were excited to see our planting and weeding pay off, and now we will be ready to replenish…

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Cinnamon Butternut Sticks at Hollenbeck

The butternut squash at Hollenbeck has finally ripened!  We don’t have an oven at school, so we got a little crazy and made a raw recipe with them. I wasn’t sure at first how the students would like it, but we all agreed it tasted kind of like jicama and very tasty!  Ranger el

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First Things First at Hollenbeck Middle School

English learner students at Hollenbeck have been studying connecting words, such as “first”, “second”, “then”, “after that” and “finally”.  This week in the garden they got to put to use new words to use by making their own garden recipes! Everyone gathered into groups to invent and write down their own recipes using ingredients in the…

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Harvesting for Home at Hollenbeck Middle School

As our fall crops continue growing at Hollenbeck Middle School, several students were able to take garden vegetables home this week. The one rule: report back how you or your family cooked and ate your veggies.  A few students already knew that they wanted to use their hot peppers for salsa or homemade tacos, but…

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Sugar Cane or Caña at Hollenbeck

At Hollenbeck our English learners are getting a full semester in the garden and we are stoked! This week we started off with instructing each other on how to harvest, prepare and eat fresh sugar cane. We learned that while detailed instructions can be difficult to master, the sweet, juicy reward is worth the effort….

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Hollenbeck Middle School garden and wildlands. An oasis in its prime.

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Out with the old, & in with the new!

Today at Hollenbeck Elementary School we focused on getting the garden in tip-top shape as summer comes to a close and our wonderful children start coming in! We harvested, deadheaded, weeded, and took out a lot of overgrown winter crops such as kohlrabi and cabbage. We tended to our ever expanding strawberry patch that has…

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Teamwork making the Dream Work

Students came out to help harvest, spread mulch, and pull weeds from garden beds. Their participation was crucial in finishing the garden clean-up. Ranger Jeff and Interns Olivia and Raquel paved the way, but the students showed their expertise and did an AMAZING job. The garden has never looked better.

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Strawberry Mania at Hollenbeck Middle School

The strawberries are coming in like crazy at Hollenbeck! As summer gets closer we are able to grow more and more things in the cool shade of our garden getaway.  Soon all of the garden will be overflowing with summer veggies! -ranger eleanor

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Protecting the soil at Hollenbeck Middle School

Although it was a rainy day last week, students at Hollenbeck were anxious to work in the garden! So, in between the downpours, we planted a mossy ground cover in pathways between our vegetable crops.  The moss will keep our garden green and allow us to walk a next to the plants while harvesting without…

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From seed to sprout at Hollenbeck

Earlier this season, students at Hollenbeck started lots of different seeds. Some students planted sunflowers in small containers and even earlier classes planted carrots outside.  Since then, the baby plants have gotten big enough to plant – and some even big enough to eat!  Today everyone enjoyed fresh carrots and planted sunflowers along the garden…

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Starting Seeds at Hollenbeck Middle School

With a new set of classes, we were ready to start at the very beginning again at Hollenbeck. Since we are all new, we thought it’d be fun to start some brand new seedlings too, so the students worked together to mix fresh soil and plant sunflower seeds in individual cells. Over the following  weeks,…

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From Concrete to Sancuary at Hollenbeck Middle School

Living in the hot tight tar, blacktop, and freeway city of Los Angeles, it struck me how easy it is to shift your sense of peace just by stepping into the garden at Hollenbeck Middle School. If I were the principal there, I would order every child to spend time there! This beauty showed up…

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A final planting amd farewell to Ms Rosser’s Class at Hollenbeck Middle School

Ms Rosser’s classes have 40 students in every period so at first they were afraid they were just too big for the garden. But Enrich LA really prioritize s getting every stident putsode and learning, so we all put our heads together ans devised a way for half the students to come for one section…

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Preparing for a mural at Hollenbeck Middle School

Every Thursday the art club at Hollenbeck Middle School meets at the garden and we take some time to explore the garden and brainstorm ways to beautify and educate. The past few weeks we have been focused on painting our new compost bins (made from broken planter generously donated from the maintenance team at Hollenbeck)….

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Starting with a Seed at Hollenbeck

After reading a quick short story about planting, we discussed the differences between seeds and seedlings. Aside from the physical differences, students discussed practical reasons for choosing a seed or a seedling in their own garden. While most students preferred seedlings, we were able to plant both and we will be watching the progress of…

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Hollenbeck garden and dry creek after two years is a much needed pastoral addition to this middle school

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Learning By Tasting at Hollenbeck Middle School

One of our favorite ways to encourage health and gardening is by providing enticing snacks made from fresh garden veggies. At Hollenbeck Middle School, garden recipes are working overtime by introducing new words and conjugations to students whose first language is not english. This week as we prepared ranch with cucumbers we learned words such…

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Hollenbeck Clean Up with Next Step!

Today we had a wonderful and rewarding time at Hollenbeck Middle School with volunteers from Next Step (thanks folks!). This garden really needed some TLC, and we spent a few hours this morning working with it. We pulled up dead plants, propped up tomatoes, harvested delicious produce (pictured below) and weeded.  

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Rainy day at Hollenbeck

It was a great day for most of us (and by most of us, I mean the plants) today at Hollenbeck – the skies opened up and rain came falling down in intermittent cycles of calm and fury. Regardless, the students had a lot of fun. When it started to rain a lot, we moved…

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Hollenbeck Yields Great Strawberries

The first week back at Hollenbeck and the strawberry plants are producing fruit like there’s no tomorrow. An integral part of every garden lesson is to try your own fruits and veggies, so what greater way than to learn about the different vegetable families that exist and eat strawberries while doing so!

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Chickens at Hollenbeck – Madness Ensues

As a special treat this week, Sal Castillo brought three of his six chickens to Hollenbeck Middle School. The chickens are of two varieties: Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red. Besides students erupting over the excitement of seeing chickens being carried into the garden during recess, three garden classes got to be up close and…

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Peas and spinach at Hollenbeck Middle School

With the help of a few rainstorms, peas and spinach have begun sprouting out of the soil this week at Hollenbeck Middle School. Inspired by the recent changes in weather patterns, the students learned about the seasons and the weather. Seasons are influenced by long-term climatic conditions, whereas weather changes day to day. To help…

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Systems thinking at Hollenbeck

At Hollenbeck Middle School, we have been hard at work approaching a concept known as “systems thinking”. Thinking about the environments that we are a part of, we have spent a few weeks thinking about ecosystem interactions.   As a part of this week’s activity, cards were printed out to represented different biotic (ie. animals,…

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Systems thinking at Hollenbeck

The past few weeks at Hollenbeck, we tried a variety of different exercises which was essentially the start of our approach to systems thinking. For those unfamiliar, systems thinking can be understood as the process of understanding the relationship between interacting components. For a middle school level, this is conceptually very challenging, but it was…

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Testing the soil at Hollenbeck

For the past few weeks at Hollenbeck, we have turned our attention to the soil that surrounds us. Soil, as some say, is the skin of the earth. Without it, none of the vegetation on land (and hence none of the animals) would exist. Sometimes, we take soil for granted. After all, we are on…

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Caine’s Arcade at Hollenbeck Middle School

This past weekend, a few hundred people showed up at Hollenbeck Middle School for their second annual Cardboard Challenge! In celebration of Caine’s Arcade (watch this short film), all sorts of cardboard activities were deployed, ranging from mazes, arcade-style games, and pinata building.       I was lucky enough to be a part of…

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Re-welcoming Hollenbeck Middle School

We are so lucky this year to be teaching again at Hollenbeck Middle School. After a big work day a few months ago, the gardens at Hollenbeck Middle School were cleaned, and now weekly gardening sessions have started at Hollenbeck. The first few weeks at the school, the students learned about the history of gardening and…

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Hollenbeck Middle School gets an angelic touch by Next Step Ministries

Another week, another garden. Next Step Ministries is another provider of wonderful and hard-working individuals to help us take care of gardens this summer. EnrichLA thrives by the power and energy of community gathering. We really are so blessed and thrilled by these wonderful people. So glad they get to be a part of our gardens!

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New fruit trees are thriving at Hollenbeck MS

The fruit trees that were planted just a few months ago at Hollenbeck MS have made themselves right at home. Most of them have already begun to yield fruit this season. Take a look: Dorsett apples </ Peaches Figs And mulberries!!

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Compost to Hollenbeck!

Thanks to the hard working students at Hollenbeck Middle School, we were able to move about 8,000 lbs of brand new compost into the garden in just a couple short hours. Although it was hard work, our plants will thank us later for the new batch of nutrients we are providing them! And a special…

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Recruiting for after school club at Hollenbeck MS

A couple weeks ago, I set up a table at the parent/teacher conferences at Hollenbeck MS. The original purpose was to talk to the parents about what goes on out in the garden, our curriculum, and our garden activities.  What it turned out to be was a great way to recruit kids for the after…

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Updates from Hollenbeck MS

Lots has been happening at Hollenbeck MS over the past few months! Our broccoli and cauliflowers have been booming as well as asian greens, favas, sweet peas, and more! Students have been enjoying the bounty either taking it home to cook with their parents, or in salads, pastas, and other delicious concotions. The group of…

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