What a beautiful sight to see the kids streaming back into school!
I wish I was so ready.
We have lots to do!
Grade by grade:
Kinder: I am setting up dates, probably first week in October for our kinder kids to harvest potatoes, and do other garden activities (singing). I will let you know the date in case you can assist.
1st: I am setting the dates for making our leaf collection and our first leaf drawings. This is the beginning of a yearlong study of the trees of Waters School. Once the collections are made (90+) they need to be pressed and dried, and then mounted on sheets for the kids to label. These will be part of the Field Guide to the Trees of Waters School that the children will bring home next June! The pasting session is always fun with the smell of rubber cement and coffee creating a dreamlike atmosphere. Watch for the date!
2nd: I am setting the date for the first off campus ecology field trip for our 2nd graders: a walking trip to the River at Berteau Street. The kids will follow the route on a map, they will take water, air a dn soil temperatures, do leaf rubbings of riverbank trees and sketch some of the flowers in bloom on the bank. This section of Riverbank has been managed by Riverbank Neighbors and Waters School for the past 21 years! It has been transformed from a dump to a marvel. Waters and RN will be hosting the Green Schools Day of Service there on Saturday, September 26 from 9-12. We will be chipping paths, building fencing and gathering seeds. Later that day, from 2-6 there will be a fun fundraiser for the riverbank, at Pensacola and the River. Join us!
3rd Grade: This first year of Mighty Acorns for our 3rd Graders requires special preparations. I have 100 new, beautiful field journals that they will keep for 3 years! To get them set we need to tape on an oak leaf for the cover, and the childrens' neames on the spines, paste in songs, the map and the first non-fiction lesson. Later I will do 3 workshops with the kids to teach them techniques for field journaling, map reading, and finaly the basics of how to act in "wild" places like Sauganash Prairie Grove. Their trips are already scheduled (see the whole ecology schedule at the end of this message). I will also be doing a workshop for first time Mighty Acorn parents. Parents play a hugely important role on these excusions, leading smaller groups of students in self-guided exploration, keeping them safe, and guiding their behavior and journal work in the wild. Look for the date!
4th and 5th grades: These veteran Mighty Acorns will pick up last year's journal. Fourth grade will be learning about how plants self-organize in wild places, unique plant communities congregating in places where conditions are best for them. They will learn to identify the plants and the ecosystem they inhabit.
5th grade will be playing an ecological simulation game in the big field before they start exploring. The game teaches why larger preserves are able to harbor more species, and thus higher bio-diversity.
All Mighty Acorns will participate in seed collecting. Parent help is essential!
6th Grade: These students will return to the river to study the actual state of the river and to learn how the whole Chicago River system and sewage works. During their Fall trip they will walk to River Park and take water samples, and collect creatures that inhabit the bottom muds, in order to grade the water quality in the river. It is an amazing thing to watch as these kids develope a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the challenges facing our river as they study and learn through the year. I will need help preparing the River journals that they wil use through the year.
7th Grade: The kids will be catching the CTA bus to Montrose Point where they have use of the Corinthian Yacht Club to begin their study of Lake Michigan, the geology that formed it, the creatures that inhabit it, and the spectacular sand dune that is building at the Point. I will neep help preparing the Lake journals that the kids wil be usin throughout the year.
8th Grade: I will be setting up a schedule for the 8th grade classes to come out to the garden to do projects, garden maintenance and harvesting and food preparation. A few extra hands to guide the work improves the entire experience. Watch for the dates and times.
Wednesday evenings we are still meeting from 5:00 until dark to care for the garden and enjoy the good people who come out to help. Come join us. We often finish with fire and food.
Cleaning up my desk yesterday I recycled the sign-in sheets for last years ecology volunteers: hundreds of names and many hundreds of hours of help makes our ecology program possible. Many thanks to you all,
View the Autumn Ecology Field Trip Schedule