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Thora Gray » ecowellness 2015-2016 !!

ecowellness 2015-2016 !!

Our first weeks lesson in Ecowellness was all about trash!!!
What happens to our trash? Where does it go? What happens when it gets there?
We learned that in America the average citizen creates approximately 5 lbs of trash per day!!! Thats a lot of space being taken up in our landfills with nonbiodegradables. As a school community we decided it would be best practice to turn 5lbs into 1lbs or less. How do we achieve that? !!!!!!Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot-compost!!!!!
Every classroom is equipped with our 4 bin system. In our K-4 ecowellness room we have a reuse free store!! Whats a reuse free store you say?
A reuse free store is a space dedicated to diverting reusable items from the waste stream so that they can be used here at our school for projects! we love like items; cans=pencil holders or pots for growing plants, plastic bottles= mini greenhouses for seedlings, your single use coffee cup=mini wind turbine, so on and so on.
Our goal is to become a zero waste school, but we need your help parents!! Try to pack lunch items in reusable containers this will cut down greatly with the waste that we generate. Try a zero waste experiment at home. Can you be waste free for one day? How about a week? Its a fun challenge sure to make the whole family rethink the choices we make.
 

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2016 October 1-2 Permablitz!!!

October 1st-2nd 2016 was an amazing historic day in the Austin Discovery School EcoWellness Gardens. At least 200 parents and permaculture volunteers came out over a two day span and broke ground for a perennial food forest. Food forest gardening is a low maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, incorporating fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables which have yields directly useful to humans. This style of food production is only the first step in our new gardens annual bed are soon to follow. 
          Permablitzers had their work cut out Installing the conservation terraces. Terraces were built in order to prevent topsoil loss from erosion on the steep hill side. The trees planted within these terraces further stabilize the integrity of the hillside. With out our amazing community effort this project may have taken months to accomplish. Prior to the construction phase of the new campus the field that is our new gardens had not been touched for at least 20-25 years. While the soil type is not particularly rich in nutrients, it would have been readily workable by our students, however during construction a septic pump system was dug deep within a portion of our field. All of the soil unearthed happened to be caliche, a clay based soil. This soil was deposited then spread allover our untouched future garden beds. Clay has a low nutrient content and becomes rock hard in the sun. Yikes!!! After this weekends grand effort i have total faith that our gardens, despite the degradation will blossom into a bountiful thriving food ecosystem!!
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Week 2 lessons of EcoWellness

Week 2 lessons of EcoWellness were spent outside by our new compost pile! Compost is one of our 4 bin (trash) or resource reclaiming systems. Students learned that compost is nature’s way of recycling. Students should now be able to tell the difference between something that is biodegradable and non-biodegradable. We also learned that in order to have something decay or biodegrade, there must be decomposers present. In order to attract decomposers we have to build a suitable habitat. Thus a compost pile is a habitat that creates rich soil for our gardens. Bugs and microorganisms eat our leftovers and yard trimmings, poop it out and walla! Rich healthy soil!! “eewww, tiaT…compost is bug poop? Gross” The nutrient cycle sounds gross but as compost it offers our plants the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. Fun fact: Red wiggler worms (Eisenia fetida) secrete substance that kill pathogenic bacteria!! If put in a petri dish with E.coli it would not only kill the bacteria it ate but would also kill the bacteria it touched with its skin. Worm poop is the gardeners gold. Everybody poops! We are getting a closer look at how “trash” impacts our life. All classes now have their own compost bucket and are weighing how much compost they contribute to the pile . There is also a compost bin at the entry way of building one. for parents to weigh in and contribute to our soil making! Next week we will begin examining our soil to see if there is a difference between soils with nutrient rich compost and those… well left in the dust. We will begin working with tools in our gardens preparing our soil for planting. We will be going over tool safety, and personal space. However this message cannot be repeated enough, if you have a moment at home please reinforce how important it is to stay safe, a tool is a tool not a toy or a weapon. As always EcoWellness is an outdoor education program please make sure that when your child has EcoWellness that they come equipped with hats, and water bottles.

ecowellness 2015-2016 first week of school

Our first weeks lesson in Ecowellness was all about trash!!!
What happens to our trash? Where does it go? What happens when it gets there? We learned that in America the average citizen creates approximately 5 lbs. of trash per day!!! That's a lot of space being taken up in our landfills.
As a school community we decided it would be best practice to turn 5lbs into 1lbs or less. How do we achieve that?      
!!!!!!Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot-compost!!!!!
   We played a fun game to get us thinking called "trash relay" with a 4 bin system: trash :( , recycling, compost and reuse/repurpose.  
Every classroom is equipped with our 4 bin system. In our K-4 ecowellness room we have  a reuse free store!! Whats a reuse free store you say?
A reuse free store is a space dedicated to diverting reusable items from the waste stream so that they can be used here at our school for projects! we love like items; cans=pencil holders or pots for growing plants, plastic bottles= mini greenhouses for seedlings, your single use coffee cup=mini wind turbine, so on and so on.
Our goal is to become a zero waste school, but we need your help parents!! Try to pack lunch items in reusable containers this will cut down greatly with the waste that we generate. Try a zero waste experiment at home. Can you be waste free for one day? How about a week? Its a fun challenge sure to make the whole family rethink the choices we make.