Our week in ecology starts with May Day!
For most of us May Day means a plea for assistance when a boat is sinking.
But May Day is known throughout the world as International Workers Day!
And it started here in Chicago as an Homage to the Haywarket Martyrs,
a group of trade union leaders framed for the death (by an anarchist bomb) of some police during a big rally. This is a song I wrote .... 30 years ago when I worked at a pump factory. I wish I could sing it for you some day:
A hundred years ago
So the story goes
Folks were working 16 hours for the boss
And so they organized a strike
Parsons grabbed the mike
Made all the factory owners so up-tight
He said ,"Friends there is another way
We're into battle for the eight hour day!"
Give it Up!
Give it Up!
Into battle for the eight hour day
Well, it occurred to me
Cuz you could plainly see
1000 people waiting to take my job from me
And they got bills to pay
They got kids to raise
My friends laid off
While I work 12 hours a day
There just got to be a better way
Into battle for the six hour day.
Tell all the kids
Writing on the walls
Tell all the cashiers
Workin' at the malls
And you can tell them at the mills
Working on the drills
Tell 'em at the hot dog stand
and Capitol Hill
We're not talking 'bout no cut in pay
We're into Battle for the six hour day.
Give it up!
Monday May 1 there was another march for worker's and immigrant rights.
While the main rally and march began at 1:00 p.m. in Union Park, concluded around with another rally at 4:00 p.m. in Daley Plaza, actions throughout the city began as early as 6:30 a.m., while the Chicago Teachers Union held five different rallies at neighborhood public schools.
I was there as in the past. It is astounding to see the many facets of the popular movement: for peace, for work, for Justice ... When will there be a harvest for the world? Maybe it's a-coming!
On Wednesday, May 3, Room 308, 5th grade traveling to the resplendent Sauganash Priarie Grove to bid adieu to their time as Mighty Acorns, reflect on the good work that they have done, and help remove invasive weeds to make room for a rebound of the native plant community. We leave at 9:30am and return at 1:15. Meet at the fish tank at 9:00 for a briefing. Pack a picnic lunch!
On Thursday, May 4, Room 307, 4th Grade travels to Sauganash to have a closer look at the native wildflowers. In class we learned about the cascade of unlikely miracles that goes into reproduction: the creation of a new generation of seeds and the array of diversity created. Where is the "brain" in a plant? The root? The flower? The Seed? How on earth does the plant know what to do next: from sprouting to flowering? Turns out that if you look very, very closely at a bit of plant tissue, you can discern a pattern that looks like a brick wall: the cells. Tiny brick with rigid walls. You can make out a little dark spot in each. If you zoom in another 2,000X you would see that this structure, the nucleus, is filled with spaghetti: pasta so fine that if it were stretched out instead of tangled, it would be many feet long. If you zoom closer, you will see that it is not a single strand, but two strands.....These strands are the "brain", many million copies, one in each cell, hard to believe, spectacular. Anyway, this lesson goes on and on and leaves me vibrating with the unlikely miraculousness of it all. I think the kids get part of that ,too.
On Thursday we will be looking at the flowers in a new way, closer, seeing all the repeated patterns, and all the distinctions between species. They will look for flowers with three petals, four petals, five, six, eight,and more petals. They are all there.
We leave at 9:30 a.m. and return at 1:15 p.m. Meet at the fish tank at 9:00 a.m. for a briefing. Pack a picnic lunch!
Friday, May 5, Room 301, 7th Grade will travel by CTA to Montrose Point to go a-fishing in the Harbor. It is part of a lesson in Lake Michigan food web and invasive species. After lunch at the Yacht Club, they will walk to the beach and, in teams, collect debris, natural and man made, and construct a composition: fanciful or literal, reflecting that moment, that place, and those kids, within a "framework" in the sand. They will present to each other. We will take photographs, then remove the man made stuff (garbage) and scatter the natural items. It has been a lovely activity in the past. Hopefully the day will be warm and sunny. We leave at 9:00, and return just before dismissal. Pack a lunch. Hope you can join us.
Garden night Wednesday 5:00 p.m. until dark.