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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Farmer Sheldon welcomed the children to Wonderland Garden by sharing the story about how he becomes a farmer then offered an introduction to the history and goals of the garden.

Zenobia Barlow suggests, ‘Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.”

The children learned the walking paths are made from 6,000 recycled tires that were saved from being placed in a landfill. The garden benches are made from recycled plastic bags and milk jugs. The stacked stone walls have been built out of 100,000 lbs. of county sidewalks that were dug up. Sheldon impresses the children with the need to reuse, reduce and recycle.

When asked ‘What kind of birds can you name?’, the children were able to offer many examples from Robins and Bluebirds to Eagles, the Phoenix and even Georgia’s own state bird, the Brown Thrasher. Everyone helped to fill the bird feeders while investigating how birdseed has a great variety of shapes, colors and textures. We also all learned how important it is to be good stewards toward the other creatures living in our environment.

After filling some of the bird feeders with sunflower seed, Sheldon brought some sunflower heads from the past season to show the children just where sunflower seeds come from. Each child plucked several seeds from the flower head then got busy planting them in the garden.

“If I were a flower…I would be a sunflower, To always follow the sun, Turn my back to darkness, Stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds.” Pam Stewart

The children put so much thoughtful attention into this planting activity. Even though it was the first time for many of these kiddos to plant seeds they did not hesitate digging into the soil to find the perfect spot.

Say something pretty

After a lesson about how a seed needs moisture to germinate and how roots absorb water to make the top of the plant grow, the kids filled their watering cans with water captured in a rain barrel to water in their planted seeds and surrounding flowers. Watering the garden was definitely a favorite task.

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There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other is wings. –Hodding Carter Jr.

I love how quiet this picture is, everyone is so busy tending to their business. There is no arguing, boredom, apathy or inattentiveness. Garden’s are such a peaceful place to be! The children did such a great job pulling weeds in the vegetable garden.

The weeds were gathered into these buckets then carried to the compost pile.

These friends enjoyed learning how composting is natures way of recycling. Compost has energy inside of it that soil will absorb to become more nutrient rich. When Farmer Sheldon asked, “What can we add to the compost pile?”, the children had many accurate recommendations from banana peels, leaves, and coffee grounds to egg shells and of course weeds.

After filling their buckets with a few scoops of compost, Sheldon pours water into each bucket to make compost tea.

Stirring and mixing compost, not exactly making mud pies but pretty close and just as much fun!

Do you see something magical happening in this picture? COOPERATION!!! It is amazing how naturally children will work together when they are given an opportunity and the right tools! Here they are applying compost tea to the vegetable’s they planted the previous week.

It was a surprise to see so many hawks circling above the farm on our last day.

Sheldon urged the children to consider and determine, who exactly had eaten all of his okra plants!  With hoof tracks present in the soil and leaves chewed too high off the ground for a bunny rabbit to reach, the children finally concluded the culprit must be a deer. The boys eyes grew wider and wider as they considered a deer to be within the vicinity. They begged to be allowed to go search the woods to find him!

Today, a third grade honors student…Tomorrow, an Environmentalist who recycle’s at home, a Congresswomen who raises awareness for conservation efforts,  a Farmer who feeds her community, a Mother who teaches her children how to plant sunflowers, an Engineer who designs using sustainable materials or a Teacher who guides others into wonder and knowledge of our natural world.

Farmer Sheldon Fleming, the children of Inspiring Kids Academy and myself, Keren King, sharing our last moments in the garden together.