Categories
Art Class Divine I Am Earth Education Existence Green Lifestyle Most Popular Revealing Treasures in your Own Backyard

Caring for our Watershed

This year my green club students wrote proposals for a contest called Caring for our Watershed,

Turning ideas into environmental solutions!

The CARING FOR OUR WATERSHEDS program asks students to submit a proposal that answers the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?” Students must research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and draft a written proposal containing one realistic solution. Community judges select the top entries to compete at a final, verbal competition for cash prizes.

There were three proposals written and submitted, each part of a large project to turn our old ‘glen” area into an inviting and restorative outdoor classroom.  The Glen area is a large wooded area that is surrounded by our school and looks out over our athletic fields.  This area has 8 benches that are worn down and torn apart. My students see that there is so much potential in this beautiful space.

They created a proposal that restored our bluebird boxes and benches, build a pathway and secured trash cans in specific locations along the path, and created a rain garden near a storm drain at the bottom of the hill. These three proposals are completely feasible, it’s just a matter of funding and permission from the county school board.

We heard back from the company this week and we were not a finalist, however we did win $500 towards our ideas! This is so exciting because the projects are coming together on their own. Ridgely’s awesome assistant principal Matt Rosati has volunteered to build our bluebird boxes, and a couple salad tables, and now we have money towards starting our next step to completing our projects!

In addition to receiving $500 for our student project, we were invited to the Student Environmental Action Showcase on April 23rd, 2019 at George Mason University Center for the Arts from 10AM-2PM to participate in their poster presentation, network with peers, and participate in activities throughout the showcase.

There is also an opportunity to have funds matched for projects up to $1000!

I am so excited to see what we accomplish in the coming year!

<3

Categories
Earth Education Existence Green Lifestyle Most Popular

Ridgely Gardeners

Yesterday we had a master gardener come to green club! She presented on pollinators, and pollinator gardens. We learned a lot of information about the different types of pollinators there are… did you know the Baltimore Checkerspot Butterfly was the Maryland insect?

We have a pollinator butterfly garden which was created about 5 years ago. Over the past few years, the garden had been neglected due to a transfer of responsibility. Taking on this new role as green school coordinator, the transfer of information from the last coordinator was not easy. After experiencing this, I have decided its best to keep very well organized records. I plan to remain the green school coordinator for a while… but if I were to move on from the position, I want to be able to give the next teacher all they need to be successful in the endeavour of keeping the green school climate going. If my goal is to assist in a climate and culture shift in perspective in terms of reducing the amount of pollution and waste…then it only makes sense I keep in my the future of what I am creating and not only thinking of the future of the earth. Micro/Macro. I’ll talk more about this in an upcoming blog.

Back to the garden…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here is the before:

20190227_123435

and after:

20190328_121625

Big thank you the PTA who sent out a signup genus to find some parent volunteers. There were 3 parent volunteers who were a HUGE help.

20190327_170248(0)

Our garden turned out completely transformed, and we now can start to think about planting some more pollinators, and adding some type of art installation! It was such a wonderful time, being in nature and helping the pollinators!

<3

Follow my blog and subscribe so that you can get notifications when a blog is posted!

Categories
Art Art Class Divine I Am Earth Education Existence Green Lifestyle Most Popular

CleanAir Partners Poster Contest

This year my students are participating in the CleanAir Partners poster contest.

“Clean air is central to our mission to help individuals who live with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an umbrella term for respiratory conditions that include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and certain forms of asthma. Improving the quality of our air must be a public health priority – because when you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”

Grace Anne Dorney Koppel, President of the COPD Foundation

As the green school coordinator this year, I have learned of many new opportunities to integrate environmental learning into the art curriculum.

Being one who has a deep rooted passion and connection to nature and art, it excites me to be able to bring the two together!

Look at all of these amazing posters my students created!!

 

 

 

 

Categories
Art Art Class Education Existence Most Popular

March for our Schools

On March 11th, 2019 educators and community members join together wearing red, to march for approval of the Kirwan Commission:

It brings together representatives from across the State to review the findings of the Study of Adequacy of Funding for Education in Maryland, hear from national experts on world class education systems, and make recommendations for improving education in Maryland through funding, policies, and resources that will prepare Maryland students “to meet the challenges of a changing global economy, to meet the State’s workforce needs, to be prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce, and to be successful citizens in the 21st century.”

This commission was created to work towards…

“…more effective supports for flailing students; bona fide high school pathways pointing toward remediation-free college and life-sustaining careers; teachers whose preparation, compensation and career prospects will lead abler individuals to enter and remain in this honorable profession. And because of this, significantly higher academic outcomes for our students.”

There were over 8,500 teachers from Maryland came out to march for school funding.  Maryland schools are underfunded by $2.9 billion every year, about $2 million on average per school, and teachers are underpaid by 25 percent, compared to other professions.

I rode a bus from Carver Center for the Arts, in Towson, to Annapolis with other Baltimore County Public School educators. County Executive Johnny Olszewski also road the bus with us down to Annapolis. TABCO paid for and provided not only the transportation, but also boxed lunches. We also received posters, cow bells, and beanie hats! Check out the poster I made below!

 

The march was so inspiring, as we walked side by side, everyone together for one purpose…To see our children walking and cheering for a better future. They deserve better than what we’ve been settling for, and the state of the future depends on making a change.

I am proud to speak up for the hard work that teachers in Maryland do, and how our students deserve happy teachers. Teachers who do not have to work an extra job during the school year, or who have to pay for supplies from their own pockets.  It is mind blowing to me that we are shaping our future, yet there is so little importance given to making sure teachers have all the tools necessary to develop students who are creative, curious and caring citizens.

On April 1st we are organizing a demonstration at the County Executive’s office in Towson. We will present hundreds of postcards to the County Executive and ask the County Executive to find the resources needed to fund our schools, our raises and the additional staff we need so we can provide the world class education our students deserve.

Two things you can do to help:

1. Send Johnny Olszewski an email telling him what you need at your school and asking him to find the resources to fund additional needed staff and our raises.

2. Be there on April 1st (No Fooling!) at the Historic Courthouse in Towson from 5:30 to 7:00pm. Click here to RSVP. Bring your red shirt!

Thanks for the support!

<3

Categories
Art Earth Education Green Lifestyle Most Popular Revealing Treasures in your Own Backyard

Full STEAM Ahead

20190207_100529

I recently attended the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education annual conference in Towson Maryland. This was my first MAEOE conference, and I’m excited to bring more teachers next year!

The conference theme was Full Steam Ahead, Expanding the Potential of Environmental Education.  It was wonderful to see so much integration between the arts and sciences.

I attended a painting workshop, where we talked about how to create art as an expression of ourselves, while learning techniques to be successful in the aesthetics of the artwork.

The Watershed Charter school executive director Jessie Lehson presented Growing Art through Farming, the intersection of art and agriculture. We learned to make pastels from rocks, and cut turkey feathers into quill pens.

There was an amazing presentation called When Wonder Wins, discussing how important it is to intentionally incorporate wonder into our lives.  In doing so, we are role models for our students so that they too will use the world around them to be inspired to keep growing and following their passions.

I really enjoyed the Earth Powers and Forest bathing lightening session.  Two sessions in one hour, where we discussed allowing kids to explore nature and tap in with their creative mind. We also discussed how to take moments our of our day to spend time in nature mindfully noticing our reactions and responses to outside stimuli.

Restorative Practices was by far the best session I attended, and all of the session I went to were amazing.  Dave Dahl,  from NorthBay Adventure Camp, spoke about using restorative practices and teaching out children using the M.A.E.C.E. method. Mindfulness, Awareness, Empathy, Compassion, and Engage. We participated in hands on team building activities to build relationships with one another in our 2 hour session. We discussed the self determination theory, Carl Rogers, and Dr. Dan Siegel who wrote The Whole-Brain Child.

20190209_154838

This conference was a wonderful learning experience and I am excited about next year!