Archive | May 2012

1st Pine Grove GEM Life Lab class experience

Hi you all !

No, not from Texas, just being silly.  I am trying to figure all this blogging stuff.  Somehow this will start a communication site for SBCC and Orfalea and Pine Grove Elementary.  Does any one want to read about my trip to Life Lab in Santa Cruz, Ca.?  Didn’t think so.

Ok, for Lauren I will describe the day.

The day of arrival, Wed the 16th of May, was lovely and clear.  The beach views and public parks green and calm. The Hilton Hotel in Scott’s Valley was clean, quiet and friendly. The pool was warm and outside cabanas comfortable.  I recommend this hotel.

I know, move forward to Thurs May 17th.  Drove to Santa Cruz University and found the convenient parking sticker and lot. Nice 10 minute stroll to the outdoor garden/habitat.

Was met by lovely, youthful Joyce Hill the instructor for the day. The quaint wooden school room lent itself to a comfortable, welcoming feeling.  Morning coffee and tea was provided on a table outside the classroom window.

A gentleman named John Fisher tripod the camera to video the day. At 9:00am class started and introductions were made.  Approximately, 20 women from different parts of California were attending.

The teaching began with the concept of the teacher asking the questions and the students finding the answers were practiced on us.  Problem solving  learning.   Then we were told to take a paper and write the answers to the questions that were  written outside. Outside the question papers were placed through-out the garden.  For example, What do you see that is yellow or blue or red?  Each question made you stop and analyze the surroundings.  The path wove around the established garden. The most interesting object I examined was the beehive that was placed behind a polyglass window.  The bee comb was intricate and beautiful. The question was about the temperature of the beehive window. A noticeable increase was felt.

Back at the classroom, the subject turned to earth worms of different sizes.  They had been placed on paper plates.  At each table or station different experiments were to be done to the worm. These experiments could be applied to elementary age people. What directly was learned from this?  I am not sure.  For example the experiment of placing an earth worm on a line between a black sheet of paper and a white sheet and watching which direction it would head was non conclusive.   However if this same experiment had been sat up outside in the sun and the black and white sheets had been warmed maybe a constant would a appear.

Lunch was offered on picnic tables out under some grand pines. A friendly conversation ensued with people such as our own GEM  Anastasia , Dawn  Mayeda with The Sage Garden Project and John Fisher with Life Lab Science. Dawn is starting with one school in Encinitas and plans to expand.

Following lunch a short tour, given by Mr. Fisher, of the growing grounds were shown to those who wanted to see and learn more.  What stood out for me was the amount of ground squirrels and the large amount of fava bean plants.  The 3-4 feet plants look unappetizing to me and to the squirrels.  Interesting, I thought.  Perfect for Pine Grove Garden.  The cleanest row crops were the strawberries.  The furrows had been weeded , I am assuming, by the torch burn machine that Mr. Fisher demonstrated to us.    Piles of squirrel cage traps were sitting on the work tables and he volunteered the information of capturing and then shooting the squirrels.  I asked about the bullets used for this endeavor and was informed that plastic bullets instead of lead were now being used.  This was good to know.

Stop. Are people questioning, as they read this, if I plan on using plastic bullets to kill squirrels at Pine Grove once I have captured them?  Well, continue reading this blog series on the adventures of Pine Grove Garden and the path to enlightenment for a wayward GEM (me) and find out.

To finish, we were given a book The Growing Classroom and we took home with us a fond memory of Santa Cruz Life Lab Garden Program in  conjunction with Monterey Science Lab. Thanks to the people mentioned above and others for the wonderful experience. I am sure Anastasia will provide a more learned summary.

Thanks for reading.

Miss Colleen

This entry was posted on May 29, 2012. 1 Comment