We went to pay homage to the Sandhill Cranes that stop to rest at Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife preserve in Indiana. They are on their way to Florida. Giant, graceful, red capped symbols of hope, they assemble at sundown in a field of corn stubble. Their otherworldly croaking fills the air. The weather has been breathtaking, and if it holds, consider making the trek!
Last Friday Waters hosted the 9th and 10th CPS Compost Cohorts, teachers from around the city who have taken up the challenge to compost lunchroom waste, and in this small way repair the broken nutrient cycle. I love teaching this class and getting to show them our school and grounds. These workshops are one of the ways that my salary gets paid.
Zero Waste Workshops
Starts Monday, November 23
Waters has been selected to be in this year's cohort of Commercial Composting schools. While we will continue to compost fruits and vegetables on site, a commercial composting hauler will collect all other compostable materials from our lunchroom including meats, breads, grains, napkins and trays. The goal here is to approach Zero-Waste at Waters. To help explain the new lunchroom sorting system I will be going into the classrooms and giving presentations this week. "Roll out" is on Monday November 23rd.
Starve the Landfill! Reduce, Re-use, Recycle!
8th Grade at the Garden
The 8th graders will continue with their garden maintenance work this Thursday and Friday at 1:15 p.m. each day. We will start indoors with the compost training slide show, then head outside. We have been repairing the broken benches, chipping the playgrounds and preparing new planting beds with compost. Please join us as adult supervision often "ups" productivity.
Friday, November 20 – Conference Room
Setup 9:30 a.m.
First Lunch 10:50 a.m.
I will host the recyclers' luncheon Friday in the Conference Room. Kids will take their lunch during their normal lunch period.
They will dine on pizza, fresh garden salad, and Waters berry-juice lemonade. I will need help setting up, fetching pizzas, serving and cleaning up. During our meal I will read over the assessments filled out by the classroom teachers, and we will share stories about recycling in the rooms. This is an enjoyable activity, especially when we are well staffed with volunteers.
Let me know if you can help.
North Branch Seed Processing Day
Saturday, November 21
Emily Oaks Nature Center in Skokie – 9:00 a.m.
The North Branch Restoration Project (the volunteer groups that has led the stewardship work in the Forest Preserves for the past 40 years) will be processing, weighing, and creating species mixes of the precious native seeds that our students and many others have gathered over the past few months.
It is a remarkable effort, the room filled with fragrance (and chaff!), the rare seed piling up in big garbage drums in mixes that are specialized for prairies, wet, dry and mesic, weeds, savanahs, ponds, wetlands. It is a spectacular piece of work. Come by with your kids for an hour or more and be part of this critical part of restoration.
We Are Family
I was in a 6th grade class ready to go over our water quality test results. As the kids filed in one girl comes up to me beaming, flushed, and says:
"Mr. Leki. You're my brother!"
And I asked, "What do you mean?"
She says, "Well... A long time ago there were cave men, and well, they had families, and then the families spread and spread, and they went all around the world. As so even today all the people of this world, all of us, are part of one family. We are all one family, Mr. Leki. So, you are like my brother!"
"More like your grandfather", I suggested.
And she stood there glowing, bursting with the power of this revelation. She had just come from social studies!
I've been looking at some of the movies that were made by the Media Lab some years back. They contain a bit of our history. Some are funny, some are valuable artifacts, some are dazzlingly beautiful. I am going to post the links to one or another of them from time to time so this history stays alive. Hope you enjoy!
Click here for the video.
– Mr. Leki