Kinesthetic Learning in Chesnut Garden

In an article, Gloria Moskowitz-Sweet, licensed clinical social worker, explains that most children start out as kinesthetic learners and — even after second or third grade when their true learning style comes into focus (auditory, visual or kinesthetic) — “half of all students remain kinesthetic at some level.” According to Moskowitz-Sweet ,a kinesthetic learner “needs to be engaged to get it.” For example, physical learners generally need to touch, feel and handle things.IMG_2537

Thankfully, Chesnut Garden Leader Carissa Malone is in her 3rd year helping our students meet that need. At the end of last school year, she welcomed all four 2nd grade classes, and the fourth grade science class to tour the garden. This was perfectly timed with the second graders’ plant life cycle science unit. Now they could see, taste and touch examples of roots, leaves, stems, flowers and seeds that we eat.

Students passed around the perennial herb lemon balm, each taking a couple leaves to rub between their fingers or on their wrists to smell its lemony fragrance. Peering into the strawberry bed to see if they could find any ripening, they exclaimed at the active bug life they saw beneath the leaves, as well as in the compost pile. They guessed at what hid beneath the soil, and smiled as Ms. Malone unearthed multi-colored carrots, and pungent garlic. They gathered around their teachers for a tasting of snow peas they had watched Ms. Malone harvest.

All the while, we asked, “which plant part is this?” “Why is this plant flowering, what is it trying to do?”

Finally, they recorded their food reviews on our “How Did It Taste?” board. And for their parting favor, they helped themselves to a stevia and spearmint leaf each, to make all-natural gum, which one student deemed, “fresher than the packaged [gum].”

School Gleaning

Nope, that is not a typo. Urban gleaning is making a comeback, and Chesnut’s Ecology Club is joining the movement. Traditionally, gleaning meant foraging for leftover crop after the farmer had already commercially harvested it. In this case, we are making sure the bounty on Chesnut Charter Elementary School’s front lawn does not go to waste.IMG_3219

Last weekend at Clean & Beautiful, Ecology Club families scoured the ground underneath the school’s front lawn chestnut tree, collecting about 50 unopened burrs and fallen chestnuts. The children worked together, using bbq tongs and heavy duty gloves. Chesnut Changer parent and Boy Scout leader Kevin Trammell took the bounty for roasting at an upcoming camping trip. IMG_3217

At $5 a pound or more, these nuts are fallen treasure! They are also amazing sources of Vitamin C, providing more than 70% of the daily recommended amount in one cup.

When Ecology Club meets next Thursday, we’ll continue gathering these nutritious seeds. Stay tuned for details on a plan in the works to host a tasting, and donate extras to our neighborhood food pantry.IMG_3215

Chesnut Changer Family Saves Honeybees

Thank you Chesnut parent Laurey Bryant (mom of Chesnut Changer Sydney Lachin) for sharing this story of a local bee rescue that took place at their house. As bee populations have dwindled worldwide, It’s inspiring that this family kept their cool and found a way to help these bees survive:

Last, spring, when the family discovered a beehive in between the walls of their garage, they realized the bees had gotten in by way of an A/C wall unit.

Bees in Wall

The hive filled a 2 ½ x 5 ft area!

As mom Laurey Bryant told it,

“After many phone calls and price quotes of over $600 we found a beekeeper that offered to come remove the bees at no charge. She called in a more experienced beekeeper to assist her. They were very enthusiastic and taught us a lot. Richard borrowed a Bee Suit and cut the sheet rock. He  was involved in the process. Sydney and I stayed in the house until they were through vacuuming. As you can imagine bees were everywhere! The two beekeepers were here for over 4 hours.”Bees- day after“The beekeeper said the hive was several years old! I have included a picture of the honeycomb that shows the cells containing different colors. Those colors represent different pollen sources. They put pieces of the hives in the ‘frames’ [as pictured below]. They will use them for the bees when they get home.”Bees Different types of pollenBee Hives in frames“The beekeeper was able to taste the honey and identify the primary flavor. In residential areas it is usually always a mix. She could taste Tulip Poplar in our honey. They gave us a five gallon bucket of the honeycomb and said it will produce about 2 gallons of honey. After checking carefully for bees and larvae, we took bites of the honeycomb and sucked the honey out. It was delicious!”Bee Honey Comb“It was an interesting and educational experience. The beekeepers said if you ever see honeybees swarming, contact the local beekeepers association and they will come and gather them.”

From the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association website:

honeybeesswarm“With recent losses of bee populations worldwide, seeing a few bees around the garden is something to celebrate. But what do you do when a few thousand bees show up? Most swarms are the size of a football, more or less. Longer days bring a surge of blooming trees and flowers which create a short window of time for healthy honey bee colonies to split and create new colonies. This split happens when honey bees swarm: roughly 10-15 thousand bees and their queen will leave an existing colony and land upon a tree branch or side of building. Once there, this mass of bees can resemble a very large pine cone or football shaped mass. Swarming is the natural process that honey bee hives go through to create new colonies and spread their genetics to new locations. Honey bee swarms are vulnerable outside the hive to weather, animals and more importantly people. They need to find a new home quickly. In a rural setting this is usually a hollow tree but in the city with loss of habitat this can take the form of a wall or attic of a house where they become a problem for homeowners. If you encounter a swarm it is important to remain calm and to call a beekeeper quickly before the bees leave to a new home or take up residence in an undesirable location. It is important to not kill or disturb the honey bees by spraying pesticides or even water on them.”

At-Home Action Icon canstockphoto2179142AT-HOME ACTION:  Who can you call? Marcy Cornell Welsh helped with this bee rescue. Her contact info:  Marcy Cornell Welsh, Honey Judge, Certified Bee Keeper, 678-642-4274, mcornell@gmail, (she makes and sells soaps too).