Field Reports

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West Vernon Elementary School

The garden at West Vernon Elementary School was built in Fall 2011. There are both raised beds and in-ground beds, a patio, and outdoor kitchen area.

Butterflies and colorful leaves

Butterflies and colorful leaves

West Vernon Elementary students gat a special treat. The delicious colorful leaves aren’t the only things growing in the garden; several students witnessed a butterfly exiting it’s chrysalis during garden maintenance. The lesson on soil paled in comparison to the friendly butterfly. – Ranger Dan

We Eat Many Plant Parts

We Eat Many Plant Parts

West Vernon Elementary students received a lesson on plant anatomy and the functions of the various plant parts. A heavy harvest day in the garden meant a plant part filled snack for the students. Stems, flowers, and leaves were on the menu; all fresh from the garden. – Ranger Dan

West Vernon Elementary Keeps Their Garden Healthy

West Vernon Elementary Keeps Their Garden Healthy

Garden maintenance on a sunny day kept the students at West Vernon Elementary happily busy. Be it weeding, amending, or seeding; the students are always ready to get their garden into shape. A lesson on compost and a peek into their compost bin reminded students that the food web in the garden is cyclical, thanks…

Soil.  Where would we be without it?

Soil. Where would we be without it?

Students at West Vernon Elementary learned the ingredients of soil and how proper proportions are able to form a hospitable environment for plant growth. In the garden they were able to get hands on experience in aerating and amending soil beds before planting seeds or transplants. It is a large garden but fortunately the students…

Life Cycle Lesson and Some Producers for a Snack

Life Cycle Lesson and Some Producers for a Snack

At West Vernon Elementary the students learned about the life cycle in the garden. From producers to tertiary consumers it comes together with decomposers. Students spotted a chrysalis of a primary consumer (butterfly) and snacked on some fresh carrots. The broccoli is growing nicely as well. – Ranger Dan

A Summary of Good Garden Practices Wraps the Session Before Break

A Summary of Good Garden Practices Wraps the Session Before Break

At West Vernon Elementary the students finished another round in the garden. A walk through and review reminds the students of the sustainable practices that take place in our gardens. Pollinators won’t be taking a break, thankfully. Fresh beans with a little seasoning wrapped the class.

West Vernon Elementary gets a Helping Hand and Learns How Compost Helps Too

West Vernon Elementary gets a Helping Hand and Learns How Compost Helps Too

The garden seating and insutructional areas at West Vernon Elementary were brightened up by volunteer garden helpers. Pollinators arent the only ones that appreciate vibrant colors. The students learned how to help the garden with compost; nothing wasted. A peak into their compost bin illustrated how the beans they tasted (but may not have liked)…

So many seeds at West Vernon Elementary

So many seeds at West Vernon Elementary

At West Vernon Elementary the students learned about seeds; how they start to develop in the plant and then from dormant to sprouting. We covered what makes them break dormancy and what helps them spread. A walk through the garden showed many examples of seeds in various stages of growth. – Ranger Dan

West Vernon Elementary is Blooming and the Garden Upgrades are to Thanks

West Vernon Elementary is Blooming and the Garden Upgrades are to Thanks

At West Vernon Elementary the students help the garden by removing unwanted guests and bringing them to the compost container. A lesson on plant parts teaches them that the blossoms on the peach tree could become fruit. Dead heading the butterfly weed makes sure it continues to blossom. A snack of fresh beets on basil…

Seedling Station Growing at West Vernon

Seedling Station Growing at West Vernon

Seed starting station at West Vernon Elementary is in full force! With the shelving system, hooked up to button-drip irrigation, we can fit a maximum of 24-small plug trays filled with over 100 plants in each tray. As the seedlings grow, we then transplant them in larger containers for a few weeks before taking them…

Thanks to Mercer for their hardwork at West Vernon!

Thanks to Mercer for their hardwork at West Vernon!

Last week, we had a successful workday at West Vernon thanks to the help of Mercer volunteers! With their help, we are testing some farming techniques at West Vernon that we will hopefully implement in other of our gardens. We built a mini farm, a nursery station, mulched the pathways, added more shade, extended the…

Garden Ranger Training going strong!

Garden Ranger Training going strong!

It’s been about a week since we started Garden Ranger training at EnrichLA! This is the first time we’ve been able to offer training to incoming Rangers and it’s been a blast so far! We are getting ready to start our Garden Ranger program after Labor Day! Last week, we were at West Vernon where…

Three Parts of a Seed and the Stages of Seed Growth

Three Parts of a Seed and the Stages of Seed Growth

Today we learned about the three parts of a seed and the stages of its growth cycle. The three parts are: The Coat The Food Storage The Embryo The kids had a chance to look at a seed from the gourd seed packet and make observations about it. We then discussed the various sizes and…

Climates and Seasons

Climates and Seasons

This weeks class we discussed climates and seasons. We went over the definition of each; weather describes the current and predicted temperature, wind/air/humidity conditions of a particular ecosystem. Where as climate is the historical weather conditions of a particular ecosystem. We discussed which season we are in currently; late Spring. The kids discovered that Los…

Friends and Foes

Friends and Foes

The kids learned about some of the other living things besides plants in the garden; beneficial and harmful insects, also known as friends and foes. We discussed how friends and foes act, and then we went through examples of friends and foes in the garden. We passed out cards to a handful of kids and…

Parts of a Plant and Spring Planting!

Parts of a Plant and Spring Planting!

This weeks lesson we covered the six basic parts of a plant and the importance of each. We then played a game where where the kids broke off into two teams. I shared a clue with each team that related to a part of the plant that we eat. For example, a stem that we…

Farewell Marilee and Let’s Talk Soil

Farewell Marilee and Let’s Talk Soil

This week was bittersweet as Marilee from Gavina coffee came by the garden to work and say good bye. She is moving to Portland and we will miss her presence and visual art contributions to the garden, via compost signage. The students learned about the three main ingredients that make up soil: sand, silt, and…

Seed Starting

Seed Starting

This week students had the chance to start their own plants from seed. We had three different seed packets to choose from; peppers, thyme, and oregano. Each student selected the seed they wanted to plant and then filled pots with potting soil. Next, they planted their seeds and watered them in. Finally, they made a…

Tomato Care, Prepping Beds, Planting, and Composting

Tomato Care, Prepping Beds, Planting, and Composting

We had a busy day of garden work this week. Here are the projects we worked on: The tomato plants needed to be tied up, why you may ask? Because they get get tall and heavy and need to be supported, plus it makes it easier for us to pick the tomatoes when they’re ready. We…

Spring Cleaning and Tomato Suckering

Spring Cleaning and Tomato Suckering

It’s no secret the tool shed needs some love. You open it up and it looks like a tornado hit it. This is something that commonly happens in many garden sheds because it is last priority when there are so many other priorities to take care of in the garden. So, today we pulled everything…

Food Chains and Food Webs

Today we discussed how everything on earth needs energy to stay alive. We talked about where energy comes from, plants and animals, and shared what energy helps us do; for humans energy helps us move our body and use our brain. For a butterfly energy is used to flap their wings up and down. For…

Thank You Gavina Coffee!

Thank You Gavina Coffee!

The secret is out! We heart Gavina Coffee! Today in the garden each class wrote a thank you card to Gavina Coffee thanking them for visiting our school last week. Each student drew an illustration of a coffee plant, a coffee cup, compost, and fruits and vegetables we put in the compost. Some students drew…

Compost Lesson with Special Guest Gavina Coffee!

Last week we had a special guest join us in the garden, Gavina Coffee! Marilee and Oswaldo joined us in the garden and created a sign for our compost bin as well as a mini lesson on coffee plants the benefits of coffee grounds in compost. Thank you so much Gavina! Many of the kids were…

Compost Lesson with Special Guests Gavina Gourmet Coffee!

Compost Lesson with Special Guests Gavina Gourmet Coffee!

This week we had the pleasure of collaborating with Gavina Gourmet Coffee to discuss composting and the benefit of coffee grounds in compost. I shared with the kids that compost is recycled food material (greens) in combination with dried leaves, grass, and cardboard (browns) that has been aged and broken down into a material that…

Friends and Foes, Triple Tag, and Spring Planting

Friends and Foes, Triple Tag, and Spring Planting

The lesson we covered was notably called, friends and foes. We discussed friend insects in the garden and how some insects are friends to the plants, just like the friends we have in real life. Friends look out for our best interest, help us flourish to be the best person we can be, and protect…

Feed the Fruit Trees!

Feed the Fruit Trees!

February 17, 2016 Today at West Vernon Elementary the kids got their hands dirty, and boy were they happy to do so! A cheer rose from the crowd of kids when I told them that we were going to use shovels and rakes, clear weeds, and fertilize the fruit trees. Hands shot in the air…

Seeds: How They Grow in Nature

Seeds: How They Grow in Nature

February 10, 2016 This week in the garden we learned about where plants originate from; seeds. We began by discussing the different sizes, shapes, and colors that seeds look like. Next we went over the 5 ways seeds are dispersed in nature. We ended with a creative activity where each child made their own “dandelion…

West Vernon Elementary fills its garden beds!

West Vernon Elementary fills its garden beds!

West Vernon was buzzing today as the kids learned about garden “friends and foes” and played an educational tag game. We talked about beneficial and detrimental garden insects and critters. Students had a good time looking at pictures of all sorts of pests and especially liked the sound of the assassin bug! The students then…

West Vernon Elementary Garden Looks Good but Needs Some Work

West Vernon Elementary Garden Looks Good but Needs Some Work

West Vernon Elementary’s garden looks relatively good but the beds looked a bit dry and it is loaded with weeds. I gave it a very thorough watering and removed what weeds I could but I think it will need a whole workday and some bark to alleviate the weed problem. Aside from the tomatoes and…

New Plants are Thriving at West Vernon

New Plants are Thriving at West Vernon

Our sunflower’s getting taller than our teachers! Our beautiful garden is flourishing. A beautiful pumpkin that we found last month Our classes got to taste some yummy pumpkin puree and toasted seeds.

Blue prints and scale models at West Vernon

Blue prints and scale models at West Vernon

During last Friday’s indoor class, we made blue prints of our dream gardens! Then, we made clay models of some of our future plans: bird baths, plants, tables, etc. The children also took home some seeds to get their dream gardens started.

Learning the Parts of the Plant at West Vernon Elementary

Learning the Parts of the Plant at West Vernon Elementary

We learned about the different parts of the plant and what they do by learning a song! Then, after learning about them, we tasted them! The roots (carrot), the seed (chickpeas in the form of hummus), the stem (celery), the leaves (lettuce from the garden), the fruit (bell pepper), and the flower (broccoli from the…