Archive for the ‘Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park’ Category

Dec13

Arte y Cultiva/Art & Cultivation In Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park At Junipero Serra Early Education School

The Living Library & Think Park at Junipero Serra Early Education School has been transformed this Fall by students, teachers and volunteers working hard to bring life and beauty to the Lower Garden. From Kindergarteners to Fifth Graders, over a hundred students have spent weeks in the Garden, pulling weeds, watering thirsty perennials, creating pathways and building a worm compost to feed the Garden! For some time now, this Living Library & Think Park Garden was needing some TLC, and starting in September it received some enthusiastic helping hands! Bean trellises were built, signs in both Spanish and English were made, and a beautiful mural depicting the relationship between humans and other forms of nature was painted on the stairwell of the Lower Garden.

A fantastic volunteer, Salvador from Chile, graced us with his construction skills and fixed many structures in the Garden. He helped to rebuild garden beds and lent his hand to bringing color and art into the environment ! Thank you, Salvador for all of your hard work!

bedprep-2Growing spaces were rebuilt, soil amended and cultivated with seeds.

plantingbrassicas-34th and 5th Graders planting Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower and Kale.

beantrellis-2Ms. Monica’s and Ms. P’s Kindergarten Classes planted the beans that quickly climbed up the trellis that the older students helped to erect.

searchingforworms-2-2 searchingforworms2-2-2

Students learned all about worms in Ms. Kristin’s and Ms. Alex’s classes and then went on a scavenger hunt in the Living Library Garden looking for worms, leaves, grass and twigs to add to the worm compost they built.

bilingualsigns-2bilingualsigns2-2 The majority of students at J.Serra are native Spanish speakers, so we wanted to make their Living Library Garden a bi-lingual space. Beautiful images and scientific terms surround the outdoor classroom

  The Lower Garden at Junipero Serra is in bloom and students truly love spending time there. Their Living Library & Think Park is a year-round sanctuary for not only children, but for our wonderful pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. The amount of imagination, smiles and laughs that are growing in this ecological and happy environment is enough to bring the roses to bloom and seeds to germinate. The young gardeners of Bernal Heights and the Mission District are busily transforming their Living Library & Think Park Garden into a magical space for humans and other forms of nature, while learning to plant seeds of kindness everywhere they go.   Written by Alexandra Grubb
Jul20

A.L.L. is Hiring! PreK-12 Garden / Ecology / Multi-Arts / Literacy / Nutrition Teachers

A Living Library is looking for awesome PreK-12 Garden / Ecology / Multi-Arts / Literacy / Nutrition Teachers in diverse locations, San Fransisco.

(Craigslist Post: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/npo/5679602884.html)

IMG_0178 Continue reading “A.L.L. is Hiring! PreK-12 Garden / Ecology / Multi-Arts / Literacy / Nutrition Teachers” »
Jul20

A.L.L. is Planning New School Year Common Core Curriculum !

2016.07.19 Staff Meeting

Every year, our A.L.L. Garden / Ecology / Multi-Arts / Literacy / Nutrition Teachers work diligently to create a relevant, standards-based, interdisciplinary, and fun, hands-on curriculum for students (PreK-12) and teachers, that meets national and state standards and also helps to improve the local environment of each school and neighborhood.  In San Francisco, our school programs are based at 7 SFUSD schools in OMI/Excelsior, Bernal Heights, and Chinatown.  Combined at these schools we work with over 1000 children and youth each month in hands-on learning, beginning with the very young children to those in high school.

Continue reading “A.L.L. is Planning New School Year Common Core Curriculum !” »
Mar23

Students Transform Street and Their School Adding To Living Library Nature Walk

Mar. 23, 2016 Blog Post During the month of February, 2016, people from different parts of California came together to transform a street and add to the Living Library Nature Walk on Bernal Heights in San Francisco.  This ecological beautification project involved creating 12 new sidewalk garden beds on formerly sterile concrete sidewalks, and planting them with California Native Trees and Understory plants in front of Junipero Serra Elementary School on Holly Park Circle across from Holly Park. Bonnie Ora Sherk, Founder & Director of Life Frames, Inc. created the design for the planting, and then connected with the various San Francisco Departments that helped make it all possible.   The California Strategic Growth Council generously provided the funding for the project as part of their grant for the full Living Library Nature Walk throughout the neighborhood that is linking multiple schools, parks, public housing, streets, and other open spaces leading to the currently hidden Islais Creek at the south side of St. Mary's Park. * Mar. 23, 2016 Blog Post In December, 2015, the SF Department of Public Works, led by Urban Forester, Chris Buck,  removed the concrete in order to create the new 12 garden beds - and enlarge some of the existing tree basins.  SF Unified School District Landscape Department led by Rick Maia delivered compost from Recology in order to improve the soil quality in the new garden beds.  Now it was time to get planting.  93 Students from Junipero Serra Elementary School led by A Living Library Teacher, Kristin DeRose took part in the planting.  It was the students excitement and enthusiasm to help beautify their school that really moved the project forward.  Once planting was complete, the SFUSD Landscape Department donated and delivered a huge pile of wood chips, which the students used to mulch the new garden beds.   There were so many extra wood chips that the students mulched all of the trees on the block !   Through this whole, hands-on learning and transformation project, students discussed the importance of planting natives to improve air quality, increase water percolation, restore the natural Watershed, and re-attract native wildlife species to the area. They also learned about diverse native California plant species, drought tolerant plants, and how this street planting will help improve the quality of life in this neighborhood.  The children were thrilled to be so empowered by their actions ! Students planted 5 trees, 18 native shrubs and 75 native Understory plants.  We plan to keep continue planting on the side street bordering the school as part of the Nature Walk. *  This Bernal Heights Living Library & Think Park is a prototype for the whole Islais Creek Watershed, the largest in San Francisco that interconnects eleven communities:  Bernal Heights, Portola, Crocker-Amazon, Excelsior, OMI, Sunnyside, Glen Park, Noe Valley, Mission, Potrero Hill, Bayview.  It is envisioned that this Nature Walk will be expanded to connect these communities by developing a new, expressive, resilient landscape interconnecting them where they have been disconnected by freeways and other streets.  We are also proposing that the Chavez/101 Freeway Interchange and the Alemany/101 Freeway Interchange become the Northern & Southern Gateways to the Islais Creek Watershed. Mar. 23, 2016 Blog Post
Jan26

Unexpected Outcomes !

As A Living Library Garden/Ecology/Multi-Arts/Nutrition/Health Teacher, I plan each lesson with an educational outcome in mind. For instance, last week I wanted the students to learn about different kinds of edible roots; we looked at examples of plants with “taproots,” like carrots, “tubers,” like potatoes, and “bulbs,” like onions and garlic. My goal is that each lesson in A Living Library Garden & Think Park at Juniperos Serra Elementary School has a hands-on component as well. For my root lesson, we started with a discussion and photos, and then planted potatoes and garlic in the garden. After I gave instructions and handed out garden tools, I was immediately met with opposition by three students in the class.

Hands on their hips, disgusted looks on their faces. “I don’t want to get my hands dirty!,” they exclaimed.  “Me too,” another retorted, “I hate when I get dirt on my fingernails!”

Planting Potatoes in the Garden

I showed them my hands, thoroughly covered in dirt. “REAL gardeners” I explained, “get their hands dirty, we will wash out hands after garden class.” Then, I went to get the other students started on planting.   Without much thought I turned around, and to my surprise the three “anti-dirty” students were hands deep in the soil, giggling and playing with a worm they had found. Minutes later I heard them enthusiastically call my name, “Ms. Kristin! Look at my hands,” smiling, they waved their soiled hands in my face, “I am a real gardener too!”

Dirty Hands!

I love how quickly children are willing to change their minds. Adults are so set in their ways, myself included.  We have steadfast opinions about what we like and don’t like, and we are not easily swayed otherwise. I think this trait can be detrimental, as we may miss out on new opportunities and experiences.

I would like to think that in five years, while my A Living Library Garden Students may not remember what a “taproot” or “tuber” is, they will have held on to the sensation of having their hands in the soil. They won’t be afraid to get their hands dirty, and they will dive into the opportunity to spend time amongst plants.

By Kristen DeRose

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