I know it’s cliché to say, “time flies when you’re having fun,” but oh my, did this month fly by! Our elementary students’ Farm to Classroom days were full of outdoors activities: traveling around Mt. Baker Farm by train, meeting donkeys and goats, learning about the health of our school’s 100-year-old big leaf maple tree, and painting watercolors of new garden growth. Our middle school students took a field trip to West Beach Farm for a compost intensive.
Captain Barb and Cheryl of Mt. Baker Farm, graciously invited our elementary school classes to join them in a farm tour. As we walked (some of us running with excitement!) the long driveway to the first set of railroad tracks, we came across an assortment of small buildings scattered around a small wooden train. Captain Barb and Cheryl greeted us with smiles as they spoke about the land we were about to explore. Captain Barb acted as the train conductor, navigating us through large fir tress. Cheryl introduced us to her friendly goats and donkeys. We discussed their eating, sleeping, playing and grooming habits. To help with their grooming routine, many of us were able to brush the animals and experience just how much they LOVED all the attention!
Seattle/Orcas arborist, Scott from Tree Solutions, Inc. shared some history and health about the 100+ year old big leaf maple that resides outside our garden gates. We learned about the tree's "critical root zone" to encourage mindful walking and sitting near the tree, the markers of a healthy tree (hint: it's in the leaves), the purpose and benefits to installing dynamic cables, and how to discover the age of a tree. For all curious: The best thing we can do for this beloved tree is to avoid pulling limbs, climbing up and walking around its trunk. Thank you Scott for sharing your knowledge of trees with our students!
The middle school Farm to Classroom exploratory made a visit to West Beach Farm for a hands-on lesson in thermal and vermicomposting. As a class, we were out in the cow grazing fields shoveling manure for a nutrient rich compost pile. We combined high carbon matter, high nitrogen matter, green matter, and water to build our compost. We then observed and feed a worm compost bin, similar to the one we have in the school garden. After a tour of the farm, we snacked on sorrel plants and lent a hand weeding the herb garden.