Good Bye, Old Man Winter!

220px-Old_man_winter.svgWith Spring just around the bend, a variety of outdoor projects will be springing up around the school. And, you (yes, YOU, dear reader), will have the opportunity to participate in some of the action. The Green Dragon Action Team will be hosting 9 garden volunteer days after school from 3:30pm-5:30pm on the following days:

  1. Wed, March 25
  2. Thurs, March 26
  3. Fri, March 27
  4. Mon, March 30
  5. Tues, March 31
  6. Wed, April 1
  7. Wed, April 15
  8. Thurs, April 16
  9. Fri, April 17

To participate please send an email regarding your interested to WSB’s Ecoliteracy & Sustainability Coordinator, Michel Anderson. NOW, before enjoying Spring Break, please take in these photos displayed in homage to Winter and its wonders. In them you will find Mrs. Friedman’s ride down the hill and the grand finale (aka: The Super, Mega-awesome Sled Ride of the Century)!

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Be sure to get your hands earthy!

WSB visits One Straw Farm

On Monday our 3rd grade class started their gardening block, and to kick it off properly we went on a field trip to One Straw Farm. Our gracious hosts, Joan & Drew Norman, have been running the organic farm since 1983. Joan took us on a grand tour showing us the land, animals, and farm equipment; and she had us tasting lots of vegetables and berries along the way. She even sent us off with our pockets loaded with peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and one giant butternut squash each! Below is a slideshow of our day on the farm. Be sure to check out & support One Straw Farm at the 32nd Street Farmers’ Market in Waverly every Saturday.

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World Water Day 2013: WSB hosts Bay-Wise

DSC_2900Last Friday, March 22nd, was World Water Day and in acknowledgement WSB hosted special guests from Bay-Wise, an organization working to bring awareness and solutions to watershed pollution in Maryland. Master Gardeners, Ms. Swartz and Ms. Baliske, came to our school in the morning for our 1st – 4th grade student assembly and did a demonstration about pollution and our national treasure, the Chesapeake Bay. The presentation was done through storytelling and visual aids. We started with two big jars filled with clean water, and as the story of humans’ relationship with the bay unfolded each of the students dumped a small vile (filled with dye and/or objects) into the water. Each vile represented a different pollutant (factories, building sites, barnyards, etc.). After the water had grown murky we discussed all the positive things we can do to clean up the bay and prevent any further pollution. The students were full of creative ideas and eager to care for the clean water we all take for granted.
Afterwards, Ms. Swartz and Ms. Baliske took the 5th – 8th grades outside to survey the WSB grounds with the Bay-Wise Yardstick and harness ideas on how we can improve our management of water. WSB received 37 inches (points) certifying us as Bay-Wise landscape, and the students found many more ways we can improve on that score. Some of the things we will be looking into doing this Spring are: planting ground cover flowers in front of the building to reduce soil compaction, installing 2 new rain barrels, increasing the mulched area around some of our trees, and planting more native plants to attract pollinators.
You can have your lawn assessed and certified for FREE. To do so contact Bay-Wise through their website linked above. A big Thank You to Ms. Swartz and Ms. Baliske for sharing their time and passion with us. Below is slideshow documenting our morning with Bay-Wise. Enjoy.

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Throwback: Farm Trip 2011

Greetings. Spring is here . . . Today! And as the light and warmth returns, our 3rd Grade Class is gearing up for their annual farm trip to Hawthorne Valley Farm in Upstate New York. We will be leaving on Monday, April 22nd and returning on Saturday, April 27th. For some of our students this will be their first experience away from home and on a farm. The students will participate in a plethora of activities — from cooking & cleaning to wood chopping, animal husbandry & yogurt making. (And I will spend a great deal of time enjoying the food they make and beating them at tether ball.) Before officially working for the school, I volunteered to be a chaperone on the farm trip in 2011. Below are photographs I took on that trip. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, you can consider this slideshow my 38,000 word essay on the experience. Enjoy.

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Posted by Michel.

Monday Hike

Passion does not arrive on a videotape or a CD; passion is personal. Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along the grass-stained sleeves to the heart.  If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.
~ Richard Louv, excerpt from Last Child in the Woods, p.159

Just sharing a few photos from the 7th Grade’s afternoon hike yesterday:

Elephant Rock Expedition

Last week I accompanied the 2nd & 3rd Grade on a hike to find the “famous” Elephant Rock, which is actually two large boulders. None of the kids knew the origin of the name, but my guess is that it was dreamt up in the mind of a former, imaginative student many moons ago. The kids found salamanders, climbed trees, and listened to the creek. And I’m sure a few of them felt Elephant Rock moving beneath them as they mounted him and rode off into some enchanted kingdom only they can see.

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Shenandoah Camping Adventure

My work with the Waldorf School definitely has its perks. On October 17th, 18th, and 19th, I had the privileged of accompanying the 7th and 8th grade on their camping trip to the Shenandoah National Park. Aside from the many hikes we took, I initiated a nature observation exercise that we did on two occasions. First, we came together in a large circle, I then explained that we would all fan out and sit quietly alone for ten minutes and try to keep all human-made artifacts out of sight. During those ten minutes we would observe our surroundings and examine the quality of thought that emerged within us. Afterwards we would gather again in a circle and share our observations. We did this on two occasions, one in the evening and one in the morning, in our private locations. I was surprised and encouraged by the willingness and excitement the learners shared their thoughts. For many it was the first time they noticed some of the wildlife around us. My favorite comment came form one of the 7th grade girls — she took special notice of the lichens and moss growing all over the trees and realized that if she were to reach out and touch one of them she maybe the first and only human to do so. The observations generated some very interesting conversations about the nature of perception. Afterwards, Ms. Mulvihill, our outdoor specialist, shared an interesting perception game that tested the boundaries of sight — a learner stood alone, staring straight ahead about 25 feet away from everyone else, then one of us would slowing creep forward until recognized.
Below are some of the photos I took during our trip. Enjoy.

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