Did you know that Gateway Greening offers field trips to the Demonstration Garden and Gateway Greening Urban Farm?
Clay Elementary’s second-grade class did! They recently spent a morning at the Bell Demonstration & Community Garden with Gateway Greening educators Carolyn and Kathleen, exploring the colors, sounds, textures, and even tastes of the plants growing there. The field trip began with a scavenger hunt, with kids and chaperones scattering to the far corners of the extensive garden space to hunt for colors, shapes, and organisms. Without realizing it, the students were practicing simple math and descriptive language as part of the fun!
Once the kids had burned off a bit of energy (and explored every inch of the garden thoroughly) they were invited to meet the long-time residents of the PURINA community coop – Fat George and the rest of her flock! These chickens are always a favorite with the kids, coming close to the coop’s screens to be fed and admired by all while the educators spoke a bit about how to care for and raise chickens. Biology is always more interesting when the subject of the lesson squawks back!
One of the best things about taking kids outside and into the garden for lessons is how eager they are to try and do absolutely everything – even spread mulch. Students learned all about working together to accomplish tasks as they shoveled, carted, and spread mulch in one of Bell Garden’s many native plant beds. (It also proved to be a handy way to start a conversation about building healthy soil!)
But without a doubt, the best part of the field trip was making ‘herbal’ lemonade from scratch, using fresh lemons, sugar, water, and fresh-picked herbs straight from the surrounding garden. Not only was it tasty to drink, but the kids had a blast asking questions and picking herbs to flavor their lemonade!
Does anyone else find themselves wishing they could go back to being a kid for a day? I know I sure did – it all looked like fun!
-Gateway Greening AmeriCorps VISTA Erin Wood