Busier than a hive of bees, more deluxe than a Chinese Jade, and even more glorious than a Marigold, this 2013 summer flew by in an amazing flurry at the OMI/Excelsior & Bernal Heights Branch Living Library & Think Parks.
Twenty hard-working, and exuberant middle and high school students from across San Francisco came together this month with the challenge to use A Living Library Gardens as a lens to explore a more profound understanding of themselves, and the world we live in. Over the first month of their Internship, students learned about the environmental fundamentals of a garden, from living soil, to water resources, to ecosystems, and community connectivity.
Art, Science, Cooking, and Mentorship Projects helped support ideas of environmental, social, and personal health and sustainability. A.L.L. brought a fun twist to the big question of the future of our communities and our world. Take a look at the photo montage below to follow A.L.L. Garden Fun!
Welcome to A Living Library Lower Garden: Jasmine Flowers with Bunny the Bee, and Carrot Top photos taken by Student Steward Interns.
Our A.L.L. ECO-ART Interns showed no apprehensions; from day one, they dug right into garden work, such as seed and food harvesting, garden bed resurrection, and all-around, garden beautification.
Students became aware of healthy food supporting healthy bodies. Instead of a soft drink, or coffee, they learned to try this refreshing Melon Slushie. Just blend chunks of fresh cut watermelon, honeydew, and ice!
Through an ecosystem health lesson, students learned that garden friends, such as invertebrates and birds, can be indicators of environmental quality. Students used recycled materials to create bird feeders and houses to encourage our garden diversity.
The more hands the merrier! Our Student Stewards discussed the importance of mentoring younger generations, from the symbolism of role models, to the idea of sustainability for our future communities and world.
In an effort to help A Living Library shine at City Hall, a handful of our Student Stewards showed up to the Garden early one morning, collected flowers and herbs of every color and smell, and crafted beautiful bouquets to dazzle Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. We walked to BART, and walked some more until we reached the front door of City Hall. Our students posed briefly for a photo opportunity, before entering City Hall, where they were able to deliver personal support of A Living Library through reading their letters, giving away bouquets, and meeting some of the Board members.
What a way to get a deeper understanding of our city and community government and systems, learning how it affects local groups, down to each individual child who is part of A Living Library.
As a Thank You Gift to our Student Stewards, and Congratulations, for their first completed month of the A.L.L. ECO ART Internship, we took a hike to San Francisco's Glen Canyon Park.
From the front gate of the OMI/Excelsior Branch Living Library & Think Park, we left full of zest and excitement. We were shocked by the transition from city streets, to valleys deeply filled with trees. Glen Canyon made it obvious to our team, that wilderness and nature really is all around us, and can be just as much a part of urban lives, as rural lives.
We arrived back at our A.L.L. Garden exhausted and proud, walking a total of 5 miles in 4 hours ! What a hike ! If you have not yet had the chance to visit Glen Park in San Francisco, it is worth the exploration, a hidden gem dazzling us in its natural beauty. And, the same Islais Creek that is under Balboa High School, is day-lighted here ! Pretty exciting to see and learn about !!!
Thank you A.L.L. Eco-Art 2013 Summer Stewards, you have made the garden beautiful and full with your interest, care, and laughter!
Blog post written by A Living Library Garden Instructor, Courtney Calkins.