Teach Outside
Resources and inspiration for current and aspiring outdoor educators and those interested in a natural learning environment.
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Ascend

 
 

Ascend

I visited ASCEND School's garden program in Oakland, California in March, 2009. At the time the yard project for the school's kindergarten through eighth graders was run by Oakland Leaf's "Love Cultivating Schoolyards" program which operated at two different school sites. Here are some of the nuts and bolts of how the program was run and some photos for inspiration.

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 Garden Class

Funding

Every two weeks there is a produce stand with fresh produce from the garden.

Class Structure

On the day I visited, there were 25 5th. graders who had a Program Leader who went to the classroom to speak with the students. The students then gathered in different places according to the type of work they wished to do:

-Fence Fixing

-Wheelbarrow Movers

-Seed Planters

-Wood Chip Compactors

-Diggers

Staffing

-One part-time garden teacher.

-Four high-school interns.

-One group of girls.

Other Practicalities

-Plants are allowed to re-seed.

-There is not a lot of support from the schools.

-The day I came to observe was the first day all the children were allowed to go to the garden as a class.

-There was a need for building a permanent fence between the soccer field and the garden, as well as a greenhouse for each site.

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Vines grow up support wires.

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Composting is a school-wide project.

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Fava beans!

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Rows of peas.

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Vegetables are grown in separate areas of the same beds.

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Donated pot-tiles hold succulents.

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Automatic drip systems provide irrigation. Fences constantly need mending, as the garden borders a grass field.

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This low-lying corner could make a great bog area!

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Students dig out a path.

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Students use real tools.

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Students receive handfuls of seeds to broadcast. Quote as one girl threw out seeds: “It’s raining flowers!”

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Walking to work in the garden.

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The gardens are quite literally under the BART tracks.

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Asphalt and turf lead the way to a great boundary of plants.

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Healthy, giant vegetables share the space with flowers. The nasturtium on the left is also edible.

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Paths are lined (and raised beds retained) with logs.

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Children dig a trench for a wood chip path.

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Pot storage area.

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Seed planting area.

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Potted plant storage area.

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Donated soil, ready to shovel.


By Heather Taylor, teachoutside@gmail.com. You are welcome to share all materials with credit to her, ASCEND, and Oakland Leaf.