Evergreen's Earth Day of Learning and Service 2015
This day is a celebration of our school and extended community. It is a coming together of partners, parents, friends and all of our staff and students to steward the Earth and learn to appreciate its creatures. Students and teachers engage in meaningful service on our campus, attend wildlife programs and enjoy nature-based games and music during a celebratory community picnic hosted by our seventh graders. In addition to the enormous support of parents and community volunteers who donate their time and energy to lead service groups, the following groups, businesses and partner organizations help make this day possible:
- Steve O'Neil, Wildlife Warrior
- Michael Skinner, Balsam Mountain Trust Flying Raptor Program
- Mountain Wildlife Days
- Southern Appalachian Raptor Research
- Slow Food Asheville
- Asheville Greenworks
- Sow True Seeds
- Fifth Season Gardening
- Wild South
- Pisgah Plants
- Robert Eidus from Eagle Feather Organic Farm
- Marc Williams from Botany Everyday
- Buzz Durham from The Global Village
- Plant Sales - flowers from First Step Farms of WNC, sales benefit the rehabilitation center and all proceeds support Evergreen Environmental Education programs.
- Evergreen Community Chorus
This day was also made possible due to grant funding support from Greening Forward and donations from individuals through our Piggybackr Campaign. Without this funding it would be impossible to implement the many and various student-designed service projects we are able to complete on Earth Day.
Here's a list of our Earth Day Service accomplishments :
Diversity and Inclusion Garden: Kindergarten & 6th Grade worked together to weed, clear and re-plant the large beds bordering our gym. The newly created garden is a "Diversity and Inclusion" garden, conceptualized by 8th graders during a math & EE landscape design project from earlier this year. The "Diversity and Inclusion" garden is a butterfly and bird garden, created with plants that will attract and provide habitat for a diversity of pollinators and other beneficial insects. It symbolizes our design principle of Diversity and Inclusion, exemplifying how the differences in our community make us stronger.
1st Grade Seed Savers: First graders did a workshop with Chris Smith from Sow True Seeds to learn the basics for why and how to save seeds. Students planted three varieties of climbing beans that we will grow in Evergreen's Earth Garden to study, then practice the seed saving we learned in the workshop. First graders also spruced up their backyard garden space with new mulch, a border of bulbs and flowers and four beautiful blueberry bushes.
2nd Grade Campus Stewards: scrubbed out our compost buckets and picked up trash along our forest EL trail.
3rd Grade Garden & Forest Stewards: Third graders worked in their crew groups to complete a number of important projects. Chris's crew built a new bench for the garden. Cat's crew planted our new asparagus bed. Melanie's crew planted a selection of culinary herbs and spring brassicas and cleaned up the hoop house. Deidre's crew worked with Marc Williams to plant wild ginseng, two species of trillium and a spice bush in our forest, adding to the local plant biodiversity of our forest ecosystem.
4th Grade Defenders of the Birds: Fourth graders worked alongside Marc Hopey and group of student volunteers from the Southern Appalachian Raptor Research center to build and install nest boxes on our campus. They added eight new bluebird boxes along our driveway and built a handful of additional boxes to donate to another school in our area.
5th Grade Stream Stewards and Garden Pathway Builders: Fifth graders worked with Riverlink and Asheville Greenworks to do a stream clean up in Haw Creek. They also did the hard and heavy job of moving loads of wood chips up to Evergreen's Earth Garden to spruce up our garden's pathways.
6th Grade Solar Cooker "Bake Off": In addition to assisting their kindergarten buddies with the installation of the new Diversity and Inclusion garden, sixth graders educated others about the power of the sun and how to use it's energy to cook food. As part of sixth grade's energy expedition, they learned all about passive solar technologies and designed and built their own solar cookers which they set up on Earth Day to share with our community.
7th Grade Global Village, Foods Tasting & Community Picnic Hosts:
A small group of seventh graders worked with Buzz Durham to build a Haitian Tire Garden, a series of twelve inverted tires, filled with soil and planted out. This project is an extension of the Global Citizenship expedition and presents an example of the resourcefulness and techniques necessary to feed families in areas where food is scarce and soil and seed are valuable commodities.
Seventh graders also worked in small groups to help host the community picnic. These kids are the backbone of the Earth Day event, helping to create a fun, playful, learning-filled atmosphere that runs smoothly and engages everyone. Seventh graders facilitate all of our picnic activities (face painting, adopt-a-worm, sack races, touch and feel boxes, seed tag, etc.) and put on our Global Foods Tasting table that highlights foods and flavors from around the world.
8th Grade Campus Stewardship Projects: Traditionally, eighth grades have been charged with proposing solutions to stormwater management issues they observe around our campus as an extension of their Stormwater Studies expedition. This year these projects included: clearing out our bioswales and rain gardens, planting six new fruit trees along the field, planting 10 new forest tree species to stabilize the hillside behind the gym, forest EL trail clean up, fixing drainage problem in the garden, and clearing the garden fence line to increase light and decrease weeds in our garden.
Our Earth Day event culminated with a community wide picnic where our community enjoyed games and music, as well as a presentation of the Wild South Nature Writer awards, acknowledging students who use their voice to advocate for the enjoyment and preservation of wild places.
Thank you to all of our partners for helping make this amazing day happen.
Happy Earth Day!