In February, Head of School, Cynthia Harmon, announced exciting plans for an Outdoor Learning Garden (OLG) at Park. Just before our March vacation, students in Grade VIII began work on the OLG. Breaking into four groups, the students researched topics, met with experts in the field, created models and/or plans, and made proposals for what is going to be planted and grown in the garden – starting this spring.
One group of students worked with herb spirals – spiral shaped vertical growing spaces with microclimates and 30 feet of planting space in each spiral. In addition to researching which herbs would grow best in each section of the spiral, the students met with members of the Park dining staff to learn about the herbs that are most often used in our lunches. Another group studied high-yield vegetables for the planting beds and container garden in order to identify the best crops based on climate, growing season and use in the Park kitchen. A third group made recommendations for the berry patches and fruit trees – again looking at the growing season and use in the Park kitchen, as well as researching cross vs self pollinating plants and companion plants. The fourth group studied composing and researched various types of composters and composting plans as well as analyzing data from the Park dining room in order to make their recommendation.
The metaphor here is quite powerful. Our oldest students – a few short months away from their graduation – are the ones who are making the recommendations, planting the seeds, if you will, for a next generation of students at Park in the Outdoor Learning Garden.
See the photos below to get a sense of the day. A special thank you to Green City Growers, Allandale Farm, the Park dining staff, the VIII advisory team, Elaine Hamilton and Pamela Penna, and all Grade VIII students for making this day work so beautifully.