Field reports from

Stevenson Elementary

Stevenson Elementary is EnrichLA’s first Burbank Unified school! The existing garden was revamped in the summer of 2016 and Garden Ranger classes began in the fall. We have added an outdoor sink and added a drip irrigation system to the whole garden.

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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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Stevenson Elementary

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End of the Year Garden Celebration!

Today we celebrated our very last garden class with a splendid tea party! The kids were in high spirits as they entered their final week in school. Before our party we walked about the garden and saw the very first ripe tomato! We also had a timely opportunity to witness the pollination of our blue…

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Pollination and Seeds at Stevenson Elementary

This morning I plucked some full grown corn from my personal garden and headed to Stevenson Elementary for our lesson on pollination.  The tassels have formed at the top of the 10 foot stalks and the silks are just starting to peep out below. I showed my classes the relationship between the tassels and silks…

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From Weeds to Food at Stevenson Elementary

Today at Stevenson Elementary I brought my hen, Red, in for show and tell. She is always a hit with the students, as live animals tend to be.  We sat and talked about her eggs, her food, life expectancy, baby chicks, egg color, grooming and so much more! Ms. Diamonds second grade class was particularly…

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Patience is Sweet: The Story of the Apple

The two apple trees in the Stevenson Garden are heavy with young green apples.  Too heavy, in fact! I took this opportunity to discuss an array of topics relating to apples. If we imagine an apple tree as of a big ball of energy, the energy eventually makes its way to the apples.  If the…

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Garden Scavenger Hunt! At Stevenson Elementary School

Today I introduced 3 new groups of students to the garden.  When I welcome new kids in the garden I like to give them some free time to explore organically.  A great way to have “structured” exploration time is through a scavenger hunt!  I created a list of items in the garden for the kids…

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Leaves- Zoomed In

Today at Stevenson we dove deep into leaves and leaf anatomy.  Most students already knew that leaves give plants life- and us life too! Leaves play a vital role in supporting plant life.  In general, where ever you see a green leaf you will find chlorophyll, a pigment which is key in turning sunshine and…

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New Compost Bins! at Stevenson

This past weekend the Stevenson Elementary School Garden received a new 4-bin composter!   Such a large garden produces quite a lot of yard waste- and now we have an organized system to deal with it all! I think all the caretakers of this garden are grateful to have the new bins. My last class…

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If Chicken; Then Chicken Manure

Today was another great day hanging out with Red, my fabulous travelling hen, and my students in the Stevenson Elementary School garden. Red stole the show– There didn’t seem to be enough time to sit and ask questions about her.  We covered it all; from roosters to eggs to feathers to dinosaurs to pecking order…

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The Secret Garden Battle Ground

Today’s lesson at Stevenson Elementary School was all about insect battles.   I talked to the students about the predator and prey cycles that happen within this living space. Aphids, for example reproduce at astonishing rates sometimes leading to a population explosion.  Their natural predator-the lady beetle- enjoy a bountiful feast at this time.  A…

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The Glorious and Tragic Life of a Broccoli Plant

Today I had my new rotation with my 3rd and 4th graders.   Boy, what a difference between the 1st graders and these kiddos! We delved deep into the life cycle of a broccoli plant, answering not just how it lives and dies, but why.  Broccoli is a cool season veggie.  Thus, in this 80…

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The Chicken or the Egg…

Which Came first? This was one of the many questions that came up today as my classes sat and observed our guest chicken in the garden. After many rainy Mondays my hen, “Red”, finally made an appearance at the Stevenson Elementary School Garden.  I used the Socratic method in class today- I had the students…

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Succulent Cloning and Plant Observations

Rain had me in classrooms with my students yet again today!    All these storms have forced me to be extra creative with my indoor garden lessons.   Luckily, I have an indoor garden of my own at my house, and I was able to pass on some knowledge with my garden friends from the…

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Sweet Cabbage Goodness

Finally!  I warm sunny day at the Stevenson Garden.  It was such a pleasure to spend time in the mid-morning sun rays with the plants and the students.   We got our hands muddy today with some seed bomb making.  The students filled their mud balls with native California wildflower seeds and had a splendid…

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Garden Class Indoors

Today was my first day back after a long 3 week winter break!  I breathed a sigh of relief after seeing that all the plants were happily growing.   I was greeted this morning with kale, radishes, lettuce, chard and a host of wonderful veggies, ready for picking.  Unfortunately, the rain kept the kids out…

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Organic Garden Exploration

Today at Stevenson Elementary a new set of 2nd and 3rd graders were introduced to the garden.   After a briefing on garden rules and behavior, I set them forth on a bingo mission.  They found 16 items on their list like broccoli, a purple stem, rainbow chard, mint, caterpillar holes and a massive sweet…

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Aphid Hunting

Whenever I welcome a new class to the garden, I review a set of garden agreements we must adhere to before we can enter and enjoy the garden.  One big one is to act calmly, lest we scare away all our winged and legged friends in the garden!    I usually brief the students that…

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6 Parts through Song

To celebrate the last day with my rotation at Stevenson Elementary, we did a bit of garden yoga and sang a song about the 6 plant parts.  (roots, stems leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds) Each part serves a different function to the plant and as humans, we eat all these parts!  The kindergartners and 1st graders…

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Native Seed Bombing

Today at Stevenson Elementary school my kindergartners and 1st graders got their hands dirty!   We made seed bombs by combining sand, clay and water.   The kids got to massage the mix into petite mud balls.   There were lots of squeals of joy happening!                    …

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Thank you, Farmers

Today at Stevenson Elementary School the students got a lesson in varieties.   I brought different types of corn for them to see and touch.  They were all very impressed, and many doubted that they were real! I told a story about how varieties came to be.   Many, many years ago our ancestors domesticated…

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Our Garden Friends and Foes at Stevenson

Students at Stevenson Elementary learned about friends and foes in the garden today.   We discovered many holes in our leaves caused by caterpillars!   They could all identify a big green caterpillars, but most saw an aphid for the first time today.   We learned that aphids are smaller tiny pests that suck the…

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Lavender Necklaces

  Happy National Sugar High Day!!! Oh..  I mean Halloween.   Happy Halloween! There was A LOT of energy in the garden today!   With the kids all dressed up and full of candy, I tried to direct that energy towards garden love.    Today we talked about what else plants give us, besides food…

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Please Be Seeded

What a gorgeous day at Stevenson Elementary!   Last night it rained and it left the garden in such a luscious state.   It was a warm welcome for my new Kinder and 1st grade garden friends.    Today was their first formal introduction to the garden.  We learned how we should act in the garden,…

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Aphids, Lady Beetles and Plants. Oh My!

Today’s lesson at Stevenson Elementary we learned about our garden friends and foes.   Our garden is TEEMING with life.  From microscopic bacteria to large predatory birds, we have it all.   Some of these critters help our plants grow, and some are our foes! The kindergarten and first graders took a tour of the…

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Annual and Perennials at Stevenson Elementary

As a gardener, it is important that we understand the difference between an annual and a perennial plant.   An annual plant must be replanted every year.  It’s life cycle lasts only one growing season, then it produces seeds so it may grow anew the next year.  Some of our annuals in the garden are…

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Herb Bouquets at Stevenson

Today at Stevenson Elementary our kindergarten and 1st grader were in for a olfactory adventure!  We followed our noses into the garden and discovered the wonderful world of basil, lavender, mint and rosemary. I spoke with the kids about culinary herbs and spices, and how important they are in cooking.   (By the way, an herb is a leaf based…

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Tasty Plant Anatomy

Today with our kindergartners and 1st graders, we discussed the 6 plant parts that plants and people need, (Roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds!) and the functions they serve to plants and to people. Snack time consisted of delicious stems and seeds (in the form of celery and humus).  It was a big hit…

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The Story Behind our Peppers

Today in the Stevenson Elementary School garden I shared a story with my kindergarten and first grade cla sses about peppers.  During our introductory garden tour, we discovered 2 different types of peppers, a sweet bell pepper and a spicy thai pepper.   Here is a story of how this fruit got to be so diverse:…

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We built A new garden washing table for Stevenson Elementary School in Burbank

We at enrichla have added metalworking to our toolbox. Welded galvanized u legs set in fast set concrete. The galvanized color along with the redwood is a nice contemporary and “lighter” look. The whole thing is super fast to build and eliminates rotted woid legs. Redwood self tapped into metal.

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A short video tour of Stevenson Elementary

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