Garden: a Mini Ecosystem | Foster

“What is an ecosystem?” I began. “It is an environment where things live together and depend on each other for survival.”

We live on earth. We breath oxygen, receive energy from the Sun through plants and animals, are weighed down by gravity, etc. Our planet is a perfect ecosystem for us to live. We could not live on Mars because it does not have the same environment. But humans are not the only living creatures that exist on the earth. There are plants, animals and microscopic creatures, too. How are these life forms connected?

To demonstrate interdependency on earth, I gave each student a card with a plant or animal written on it. This was their new identity for the game. Together, we created a Food Web to connect all the plants and animals together into one ecosystem. Then, I removed the Sun and I told all the plants to be removed. Then I told all the animals to be removed who eat the plants. We discovered that without the Sun, nothing would live. We also discovered that without Bees nothing would live because plants wouldn’t be pollinated to produce new seeds.

It was a very enlightening (and fun!) day!

pointing out the monarch caterpillars!

pointing out the monarch caterpillars!

Without bees we wouldn’t have food to eat!

The chard patch is still growing strong!

Thanks to the rain, the pathways are covered in grass. Will be spreading mulch out soon as we can!

Hope Cox

Native to Tennessee, Hope fell in love with urban farming while majoring in Nutrition/Dietetics at UT Chattanooga. She volunteered at an urban farm there for two years and gleaned (pun intended!) bushels of knowledge about harvesting & planting, CSA box coordination, farmers market stands, school field trips, farm-to-table and more. When Hope moved to Los Angeles in late 2014, she began volunteering with EnrichLA and soon after became a Ranger. She loves sharing with her elementary students the hands-on experience of gardening, finding bugs, composting and eating from the garden. The expression of glee on the students' faces when they discover a new critter or favorite vegetable is the best part of Hope's day! One day, she hopes to be a real farmer in the country but for now is glad to be learning the ins-and-outs of inner-city farming.