Close to our Spark Spot is a place we like to call Berry Zone, in which hundreds of blackberries grow! Throughout our time together we got to visit Berry Zone to forage for wild blackberries to use for crafts.
In just a few days, some of us had grown confident in identifying certain plants and their benefits. On our walks, we found plenty of jewelweed, burdock, plantain, dandelion, beechnut, paper mulberry, basswood/linden, wood sorrel, mugwort, lady’s thumb, violets, goldenrod, blackberry and more! We also learned to recognize some poisonous plants such as poison ivy, … Continue reading Plant Identification
We found unexpected delight in our park’s many Burdock plants. Burdock burs stuck sweetly to our fingers and clothing, and we realized that they are also great for sticking together to create larger bur clumps! We invented a fun target practice game called “Burs-Eye”, where we tossed our sticky burs to catch onto our natural … Continue reading “Bur’s Eye” Game
We drew parallels between Andy Goldsworthy's use of natural elements in sculpture to composers' use of natural sounds in music. After listening to soundscapes of several environments on Monday, we listened to Pierre Schaeffer's Etude des chemins, which creates rhythmic patterns from train noises, and Hugh LeCaine's Dripsody, which is derived from a recording of a drop … Continue reading Music Inspired by Nature
Throughout the week, we have visited the brilliant chinampa farming setup in Mexico, Findhorn ecovillage in Scotland, the Green School in Bali, and the solar tents and desert-turned-food forest in Wadi Rum, Jordan. Along the way, we have learned about a number of sustainable and permaculture practices and how to use natural resources effectively, including … Continue reading Revisiting Efficient Uses of Natural Resources
We got in our bathing suits and played outside with water!
We looked at our mushroom log and discussed the vast fungal network in the earth, and why they are good for the environment. This included the 3 types of mushrooms- Mycorrhiza (beneficial to plants, like chanterelles and truffles), Saprophytic/decomposers (break down organic matter, like shiitake and portobella), and Parasitic (like the honey mushroom). We discovered … Continue reading Caring for our mushroom log and why they are good for the environment
In 1 teaspoon of soil, there can exist up to 4000 species of organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, mites, and other creatures. We spent some time getting to know the marvels of a rotting log and the decomposers who live upon and beneath it. We learned that decomposers are group of organisms that function as … Continue reading Healthy soil – What lives in the ground?
We returned to our spot from yesterday to discover that the water from the vernal pond had evaporated significantly! We experimented with the water by throwing things and rolling natural items into it to see which would float and sink. We even worked together to roll a big log into the water! Some of us … Continue reading A Return to the Park
Many Balinese people live in harmony with the natural environment, seeing spirit and soul in the natural world around them. We took a look at the Green School in Bali, an international school without walls and made out of bamboo. The Green School’s goals are to deepen the bonds between people and nature, and to … Continue reading Visiting the Green School in Bali