Big (Green) Deal: TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

Originally written for the Watertown Daily Times by Amanda Taylor, who covered TILT’s (Com)Post-Halloween event at Zenda Farm Preserve over the weekend.

Christopher A. Nevala, 7, smashes leftover Halloween pumpkins with a mallet during the (Com)Post Halloween event at Zenda Farms in Clayton on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Amanda Morrison for the Watertown Daily Times.

TILT Event Educates Children on Compost

CLAYTON — Creating a manageable compost heap is not as difficult as many may believe.

“It’s quite simple and should not be intimidating to anyone,” Corinne M. Mockler said.

Ms. Mockler is the coordinator of education and outreach for the Thousand Islands Land Trust. The group organized a (Com)post Halloween on Saturday to educate children and their families on maintaining a compost heap.

“A lot of families have gardens, but we’re not sure how much kids are involved in the gardening or if they are aware of the fact that anything can be composted,” Ms. Mockler said.

People were invited to bring their leftover pumpkins and jack-o’-lanterns to Zenda Farms at 38973 Zenda Road and smash them up in a wooden box with a shovel. The pumpkin pieces were combined with old leaves to create compost that will be used in the spring on TILT’s Community Garden.

“Who can resist? You get rid of grass, old jack-o’-lanterns and kids get to go around and smash stuff,” she said.

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Green 101: Upcoming Permaculture/Sustainability Classes

I haven’t listed classes in a while, but there’s always something going on in the world of Permaculture! To see previous classes I’ve posted, click here.

Nutritious Delicious! Cooking Seminar – Wild Game and Pasture-Raised Meats: A Savory Natural Meat Cooking Seminar

Tuesday, October 2, evening workshop times TBA
Part of a series of six seminars covering both basic and advanced culinary skills.  Held roughly every other month on a topic related to the season, these sessions are designed to assist those interested in eating “lower on the food chain”, more in keeping with the freshness of the season — and more economically as well!

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Get Outdoors: A Recap of the 2012 TILT KidsTreks

Now that my first summer with TILT is winding to a close, I thought I would post a quick recap of my favorite part – the KidsTreks! While only part of my job as Coordinator of Education & Outreach, developing, organizing and then experiencing the KidsTreks was a major highlight. The participants’ enthusiasm was infectious and the parents were happy for fun and informative (and free) activities for their kid(s) to do outdoors. All four KidsTreks were booked weeks before they began, which confirmed that there is a major need for this sort of thing along the river. I also got to stretch my graphic design muscles by designing four distinct activity booklets as a keepsake from each trek. I’m not going to show the whole booklets here (stay tuned for the upcoming TILTKids section on the TILT website…), I will show the cover and a sample page. So now, without further ado:

WEEK 1: Art from Nature at the Zenda Farm Preserve

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Get Outdoors: The Problem with Environmental Education

Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Outdoors

 

Originally published in Orion magazine.

Look, Don’t Touch

The problem with environmental education
by David Sobel

THE KIDS HAVE BEEN UP since seven-thirty playing computer games and watching cartoons. What a travesty for them to be inside on such a beautiful day, you harrumph to yourself. On the refrigerator, you notice the schedule of events from the nearby nature center. “Let’s Get Face to Face with Flowers,” it beckons. Just the thing! It’s a sparkly May morning. Buds are bursting. There’s a warm breeze full of the aromatic scent of the woods just waking up.You trundle the kids into the minivan. They despondently consent. “Do we have to do a program? Programs are boring,” the older one complains. But as soon as you pull into the parking lot at Happy Hills Nature Center, their faces brighten. They fling the sliding door open and scamper down through the blossom-filled meadow to the shore of the pond. Ross, age seven, pulls off his sneakers and wades in, bent over searching for frogs. Amanda, age ten, plops down and starts making a dandelion tiara. What a good decision, you think to yourself.

Terri, the smiley naturalist wearing the official Happy Hills insigniaed staff shirt, saunters over. “Here for the flower program?” she chirps. “We’re meeting up in the Cozy Corner room to get started.”Ross asks, “Can Freddie come too?” holding up the fat green frog he has befriended.Terri’s bright face darkens a bit. “Sorry. Freddie needs to stay in the pond. Did you know the oils from your hands can make Freddie sick?” Continue reading

Building an Outdoor Classroom in Qatar

My brother-in-law is a science teacher in Qatar, and he recently led completion of an incredible outdoor classroom for his elementary school kids to enjoy (I mean, it includes a koi pond and waterfall, tortoise habitat, human sundial and a “weather tree”!). Can I play?

This article, and all photos, were originally published on his blog, The Scientific Teacher.

Building an Outdoor Classroom

June 5, 2012 by Nick Mitchell

When I first arrived at my school 4 years ago, outside the new elementary science lab was a large sandpit surrounded by a fence. In the middle of that sandpit was an empty swimming pool.

My initial reaction was WTF? Then it was explained to me that when the school recently expanded the intent was to build an outdoor pond area. Unfortunately this desire wasn’t communicated clearly to the construction company, who interpreted “pond” to mean “pool” (such is life in Qatar). So we ended up with a swimming pool in a sand pit…. grrrrreat.

Thus began my 4-year quest to transform this wasteland into something of educational value. Since our school is located in the often-sweltering desert city of Doha, students don’t have much of an opportunity to explore the outdoors. They don’t have the same connection with nature that I was fortunate to have growing up in the woods of Connecticut- which is a problem if we expect our students to care about the environment or life sciences in general. (For a great read on this subject of “nature-deficient” kids, check out Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv) So my vision was to create an outdoor classroom, or as a wrote in the grant proposal:

To create a naturalistic outdoor learning space where students can be inspired to learn about the natural world even in the confines of our urban surroundings.  Upon entering the outdoor classroom through a vine-covered gate, students will be immersed in a lush, active ecosystem, surrounded by a diversity of plants and animals: butterflies pollinating flowering bushes, birds nesting in trees, and fish thriving in the pond. Opportunities for learning in this natural setting will be diverse as well, from learning about life cycles by growing vegetables in the planter beds, to collecting weather data using meteorological tools at the weather station, to understanding the relationship between sun and shadows on the sundial patio. 

It’s taken 4 years with several setbacks along the way (unsuccessful applications for funding, multiple contractors with conflicting visions, and many different designs and revisions), but I’m happy to report that it has been well worth the effort. This year our outdoor classroom has finally taken shape, and  it is a swimming pool sandpit no more! :)

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Green 101: Upcoming Permaculture/Sustainability Classes pt 4

I will list classes as I hear of them (and I don’t really have it in me to fix all the formatting – sorry in advance!) And see other classes I’ve already posted here.

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Green 101: Upcoming Permaculture/Sustainability Classes pt 3

As I predicted, listing upcoming Permaculture/sustainability classes has become an ongoing series. Here goes the latest batch:

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