Field Reports

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Ramona Elementary School

The edible garden at Ramona Elementary School was completed in Fall 2014. The raised beds are watched over by a smiling scarecrow.

Exploring the Garden at Ramona

Exploring the Garden at Ramona

(written in early February) Since the rains have been so prevalent lately, preventing my students from going to the garden during my classes, we spent the majority of today exploring the space and getting familiar with the habitat and current growing season. Lots of plants have emerged from the ground and bloomed, happily in response…

Taco Tuesday at Ramona

Taco Tuesday at Ramona

What better way to defeat the rainy blues than by making tasty tacos? Working together, the students prepared a tasty treat with refried beans, shredded carrots (as the “cheese”) and steamed garden greens. The students had a blast being involved in this recipe demo: spreading the beans on the tortilla, grating the carrots, tearing the…

Why are Worms Important? at Ramona

Why are Worms Important? at Ramona

After two weeks of rain, we were back in the garden! For our last class of this rotation, we talked WORMS. Why are worms important?, we asked ourselves. What is such a big deal about these dark-loving, leftover-eating, red-bodied wigglers? In actuality, we are privileged to have such creatures roaming the earth beneath our feet.…

Exploring the Winter Garden at Ramona

Exploring the Winter Garden at Ramona

Today was the start of a new rotation! After playing a game of “Heads Up!” garden style and discussing garden classroom expectations, we explored the garden space. A lot has changed since these second and third graders have seen the garden last year. Many students commented on the missing sunflower, which was a great chance to…

Rainy Day Erosion Lesson | Ramona

Rainy Day Erosion Lesson | Ramona

With the rain steady trickling from the sky, today was a perfect day to talk about erosion. Erosion is when rocks and soil are moved from one place to another. Two primary actions of nature cause this: water and wind. Over time, these elements of nature wear away rocks and soil, creating nooks and crannies…

Harvest Salad at Ramona

Harvest Salad at Ramona

“Woohoo!!!” Hoots and hollers filled the air as I announced today’s lesson: making a salad together. As the students filed in and sat at the picnic tables, I split them into three groups: Choppers, Harvesters and Salad Dressing Makers. I gave each group a piece of paper with instructions to read before giving them their…

Fungus, Bacterial, Invertebrates, oh my! | Ramona

Fungus, Bacterial, Invertebrates, oh my! | Ramona

Okay, so we know that a compost box is kind of magic, right? You toss rotten food and old plants in there and eventually out of the door comes dirt. But HOW does this decomposition happen? I’m glad you asked. 🙂 You see, there are other things in the piles besides moldy apples and brown…

Nature Gives Us Everything We Need | Ramona

Nature Gives Us Everything We Need | Ramona

It was a joy to teach fourth and fifth graders today at Ramona Elementary School today. I haven’t spent time with these students since last year and — to be honest — I was a little nervous at the beginning of the day because all semester I’ve been teaching third grade and below. “How am…

Layer That Compost! | Ramona

Layer That Compost! | Ramona

Today, 2nd and 3rd graders at Ramona students learned how to layer the compost bin, just like a cake. This technique is important in our school compost bin to balance the wet ingredients and dry ingredients (what we farmers call nitrogen and carbon). We defined these components as the following: wet ingredients – fruit and…

New Signs, New Pathways at Ramona

New Signs, New Pathways at Ramona

In this current rotation at Ramona, I am teaching three classes, 3rd grade and up. They have a lot more energy than K, 1st and 2nd graders (my previous rotation), so I thought I’d put them to work today. Last week, I’d discovered a hidden mulch pile near the garden. Much of it is decomposed…

Competitive Composters at Ramona

Competitive Composters at Ramona

Do you know the three categories of ingredients that go into a compost pile? Wet, dry & water. Just like when making a parfait or cake, we also layer ingredients into a compost pile, alternating each one until we reach the top. Together, the students and I drew a diagram to illustrate a Compost Cake…

Compost Cake at Ramona

Compost Cake at Ramona

Have you ever made a birthday cake before? Have you noticed that cakes tend to be served in layers? A cake layer, an icing layer, a cake layer, and finished with an icing layer. Well, in the same way, we can make a compost cake. Not for ourselves to eat but to feed the bugs!…

Freshness at Ramona w/ Amal

Freshness at Ramona w/ Amal

A few weeks ago I suddenly noticed that a saliva bush in between two beds was dead. Looking closely, I noticed the plant still had a bit of life; so I decided to give it a little boost. I watered it with a generous portion of AMAL high voltage tea, plus some additional water. The…

Edible Rainbow Boats at Ramona

Edible Rainbow Boats at Ramona

Today at Ramona we learned that eating a rainbow is “NOT eating candy” (as one kid astutely remembered at the end of class :D) but rather eating a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables. We briefed the benefits of each color before assembling our snack: Red – heart (put hands on heart) Orange /…

Farm to Table @ Ramona

Farm to Table @ Ramona

For the first day of class, I wanted to introduce a term to my students that they may (or may not) have heard before but haven’t studied much: Farm to Table. We talked about the reality of our foods being imported from rather far away – even across California. When our food travels from a…

Ramona Harvest

Ramona Harvest

What a better way to get excited about garden class than to share the harvest ??? Today I found a sugar baby watermelon, peppers, dino kale, purple basil, green beans, leeks, eggplant and a tiny zucchini in Ramona’s garden! Amazing what a few weeks of summer will do to give a garden time to grow…

Ramona Students Make Salsa and Rate 10/10!

Ramona Students Make Salsa and Rate 10/10!

In an effort to introduce more of the garden veggies before school ends, I shared a salsa recipe with my students at Ramona Elementary today. Though I had to buy diced tomatoes (our tomatoes aren’t ripe yet!), frozen corn and canned black beans, I was pretty impressed with how “in season” and fairly sustainable our…

Harvest at Ramona

Harvest at Ramona

What a pleasure it is to harvest what’s growing in the garden and share with teachers, staff and kids! Today I picked a basket full of greens, zucchini, carrots, basil, flowers and herbs!

Whole Foods Kids come to Ramona!

Whole Foods Kids come to Ramona!

What a fun day!!! Several team members from local Whole Foods visited Ramona today to observe the garden classes and record how this particular school garden is doing. I showed these guests around the garden, allowing them to nibble on make greens, chard and herbs; and to assist me in my classes. I was so…

All About Seeds | Ramona

All About Seeds | Ramona

Where do seeds come from? What part if the plant produces seeds? Obviously there are seeds in fruits but where do seeds grow on a vegetable? What’s the biggest seed in the world? Are all seeds the same? These are the riddles we resolved during our class about SEEDS. We briefly walked through the lifecycle…

A New Cycle | Ramona

A New Cycle | Ramona

Ramona’s back from spring break! It’s already our third and last cycle of the spring, which means new students to inspire into stewards and a garden awaiting the summer season. Off we went to pick, prune, pull out, and plant!  Our bounty of greens from before the break looked less vibrant, but the flowers we…

Tasty Summer Rolls | Ramona

Tasty Summer Rolls | Ramona

To commemorate our last day of classes for this unit, Intern Ashley and I made summer rolls with our students! We partnered up the kids, soaked rice paper in water, handed one to each pair, and allowed them to choose a variety of colorful veggies to roll up inside. Lastly, they dipped their roll in hoison…

Water Cycle | Ramona

Water Cycle | Ramona

This week, we went on a journey through the water cycle—by drawing! On a blank page and with a colorful marker, we set out to explore an important question: How does old saltwater (as old as the dinosaurs!) become fresh groundwater?   To recap our journey: Saltwater from the ocean evaporates into the air and…

Layering the Compost | Ramona

Layering the Compost | Ramona

If there’s at least one thing Hope and Ashley share in common, it’s that we can talk about the many reasons why nature amazes us. One reason is that caring for a garden is a continuous journey through the circle of life. Why do we collect scraps and peels from our kitchen and cafeteria and check…

Seed Lab | Ramona

Seed Lab | Ramona

Today’s lesson was especially neat because we got to see what we learned last week (a plant’s life stages) as a seed before it is planted and as a plant ready for harvest. Students writing out their observations about seeds… After receiving seeds in unlabeled bags, our students did not wait to guess the matching…

It’s Spring at Ramona

It’s Spring at Ramona Elementary! The flowers are bold in pinks, purples & yellows. The radishes, arugula, lettuce and bok choi are bolting. And the air is filled with puffs of warm air. Goodbye winter… ….hellooooo Spring!

New Garden Friends | Ramona

What a happy day to begin a new unit at Ramona! The garden is looking lovelier and lovelier each week and the kids are endlessly excited to see what’s growing, what they can taste and what bugs they can find. At the beginning of each unit, I always begin the first class with Garden Rules…

Garden Pesto | Ramona

Garden Pesto | Ramona

Today, we made garden pesto with the kiddos! The garden looked mighty healthy (thanks to compost and Gro Power magic), and the salad greens were ready to harvest. We didn’t make the usual basil pesto – we made GREENS pesto. Every kid had a chance to add a little something to the food processor ―…

Feeding the Worms | Ramona

Feeding the Worms | Ramona

What a fun day! The kiddos learned about decomposition in nature – how everything that was once living will turn into dirt – how forests are an excellent example of the natural process of decomposition – how our friends the FBIs (Fungus, Bacteria & Invertebrates) are the true heroes because everything they touch turns to…

Kid art: drawing parts of a plant | Ramona

Kid art: drawing parts of a plant | Ramona

With the Ramona Kindergartners we discussed the parts of the plant whilst doing a craft: making a flower out of a muffin tin, cotton balls, crayons and paper. The kids had a lot of fun using their own creativity to add a stem, leaves and roots to the head of the flower. Then afterwords we…

Rainy day | Ramona

Rainy day | Ramona

Happy New Year!! Today was a perfect day to resume teaching for Enrichla. All thanks to El Nino, the rains have begun in Los Angeles!! Our gardens will be super happy the next month or two 🙂 I taught indoors, an opportunity I prefer as the classrooms are much quieter and less distracting than the…

DIY Garden Signs | Ramona

DIY Garden Signs | Ramona

Today was officially our last day at Ramona before break. The students had a lot of fun being creative as they worked together to draw the fruits, vegetables and bugs in their garden. These pictures we will laminate and turn into garden signs; in January we’ll then label the plants! – Ranger Hope

Yummy Hummus | Ramona Elementary

Yummy Hummus | Ramona Elementary

Today was so much fun! Working together, each class made one batch of hummus and tasted it with baby carrots. The recipe goes like this: 1 can chickpeas (save liquid) 3-4 TBS olive oil Pinch of salt/pepper Fresh kale from the garden Blend all the ingredients in a food processor. If mixture is too thick,…

Preparing for Winter | Ramona

Preparing for Winter | Ramona

With Christmas break just around the corner, there was a lot of work to do today at Ramona’s garden. Several weeks ago we planted salad green seeds as well as radishes and carrots but today I brought some seedlings as well. After teaching the kids about the parts of the flower and common pollinators, we…

Ramona | Helping Hands

Ramona | Helping Hands

Some students tasting kale and lemon balm Even though Ramona’s garden is quite small, there was a bit to do today. Instead of doing all the work by ourselves, Intern Anne and I rallied up our students to help out! There are a buncha grubs in the soil where we pulled out a tomato plant;…

Ramona | Finding Grasshoppers

Ramona | Finding Grasshoppers

Today at Ramona, while exploring in the garden, we saw a huge grasshopper. Several, actually! We learned that grasshoppers, as groovy as they are, are not actually our friends in the garden. They eat our plants and wreak havoc whenever possible. Boo! In addition, we smelled/tasted lemon balm and collected pear tomatoes, which the kids…

Apple Tasting at Ramona

Apple Tasting at Ramona

I like to end my last week of a Six-Week Unit with a bang, usually in the form of eating… So today we exercised discipline, acute tasting skills and our vernacular of adjectives whilst eating three types of apples: granny smith, red delicious and yellow delicious. Intern Anne and I handed out each apple sample…

Eeek! Hornworms at Ramona

Eeek! Hornworms at Ramona

While teaching the second lesson of the parts of the plant (to continue from last week), Intern Anne found two hornworms on our tomato plants!! These caterpillars are detrimental to the crop as they will eat the leaves of the plant in no time!! The kids were impressed with the hornworms’ ability to hang upside…

“Parts of the Plant,” Part A at Ramona

“Parts of the Plant,” Part A at Ramona

Phew, today was a hot one! With the kiddos at Ramona, we discussed parts of the plant. First, I had them draw what they thought the parts looked like – they did a great job! Then we examined three out of the six parts (roots, stem, leaves) and then had a scavenger hunt! I also…

Composting at Ramona

Composting at Ramona

For some reason, composting is one of the hardest lessons for me to teach kids. Though it’s quite a simple concept, decomposition is best understood when observing it happening. With inner-city schools far away from hiking trails and big backyards, my students can really only observe the process in their school garden. So today was…

Seed Tape (Autumn Crop Prep) at Ramona

Seed Tape (Autumn Crop Prep) at Ramona

Today was a fun day discussing the seasons of Los Angeles. LA shares similar weather to the Mediterranean area of the world: Temperate weather most of the year except for the couple months of chilly and the couple months of hot. We discussed that though fall technically began last week LA does not demonstrate autumn…

First Day @ Ramona

First Day @ Ramona

The first class of a six-week unit is one of my favorites because it allows me to meet the students and to observe their curiosities and interests. After introducing myself, I then welcome the 25-30 wondering faces to the garden space. As I observe their anxiousness to get up and see what’s growing and what…

Ramona Elementary – well-maintained beautiful garden

Ramona Elementary – well-maintained beautiful garden

DeeG visit – Sept 2, 2015 Today was my first visit to Ramona Elem.  I found Felipe had visited last week and did the lion’s share of preparation for Back To School.  Many thanks!  What a beautiful space. I spent some of my time in the herb garden – maintaining the basil and coriander. The…

Ramona Elementary boasts a beautiful, thriving garden

Ramona Elementary boasts a beautiful, thriving garden

It is impossible for the colors that make up the Ramona Elementary School garden, from the rich, dark brown soil to the bright green cilantro leaves to go unnoticed. This vibrance is playfully mirrored by the fun, cartoonish wardrobe of the the garden’s scarecrows that greet you with a smile as you walk through. It doesn’t take a trained eye to know at…