Earth Day Is in the Air(waves) at Chesnut

“Hello, my name is Spectro the Spark! I’m going to tell you how you can save me, and electricity!”

Thus began yesterday’s Earth Day PSA (public service announcement) from fourth and fifth grade Chesnut Changers, Adams Hollis and Akeem Smith.

Adams Hollis reminding his friends to save electricity

Adams Hollis reminding his friends to save electricity

Their group was one of four that formed at a recent 4th/5th Grade Ecology Club meeting, to create announcements about environmentally-friendly actions their peers could take.

After examining their own earth-friendly practices, the students chose three main subjects to promote:  conserving electricity, biking and growing your own food. This week, in support of Earth Day (April 22), several students performed their advertisements over the morning announcements. Special thanks to Ecology Club Teacher Sponsor Ms. Griffin for helping these students step into the spotlight.

“Save the Spark” by Akeem Smith, Adams Hollis and Audrey Mothershed

Akeem Smith takes the mike

Akeem Smith takes the mic

Hello, my name is Spectro the Spark! I’m going to tell you how you can save me and electricity!  First, you can turn off appliances when you’re not using them, such as a tablet or TV. Second, you can replace your light bulbs with the energy efficient ones or use solar panels. Third and finally, you can turn off the lights when you are not using them. These were a few ideas of how you can save me and electricity.




Bike Riding PSAs by Madison Wright, Courtney Butler, Sarah Lewallyn and Ryleigh Hixon

Audrey and Madison promote biking

Audrey and Madison promote biking

photo 1#1:  Riding a bike isn’t just for playing. You can also go places. Instead of driving you can ride a bike and get stronger. And when you ride a bike you can exercise more.

#2:  Student A: (SIGH) I wish I had a fun and healthy way to get to school. Student B:  Well, biking is one way! Biking helps the environment and it’s fun. Maybe you’d like to bike with a buddy. This is a healthy way to help the environment and have fun with your friend. Biking to school can help everyone and yourself have a healthy lifestyle. Student A: Thanks, I’ll try it tomorrow!

Sarah, Ryleigh and Courtney do a skit to encourage biking with a buddy to school

Sarah, Ryleigh and Courtney do a skit to encourage biking with a buddy to school

photo 1 copy

At-Home Action Icon canstockphoto2179142AT-HOME ACTION:  Go through the Chesnut Changers Sustainability Checklist as a family, and take your own Sustainability Pledge.

Dunwoody Community Garden Happenings: Buy Veggie Plants at Lemonade Days, Vote for Fruit Orchard in Brook Run

WHAT: Dunwoody Community Garden 2nd Annual Plant Sale – Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers

WHEN: Saturday and Sunday, April 21 & 22, 10 am to 5 pm

WHERE: The Greenhouse in Brook Run Park (next to the skate park)


WHAT: Fruit Tree Orchard Grant – VOTES NEEDED — this orchard will supply the food pantry at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church.

WHEN: Once registered, you can vote daily to increase the Dunwoody Community Garden’s chance of winning.

HOW:  Visit for voting instructions.


Happy Holidays from Chesnut’s Winter Garden

Chesnut Changer Garden Leader Carissa Malone has a new recruit, and she makes eating your greens a pleasure. Chesnut Changer Parent Laura McEwen came on board just in time to do something yummy with our winter harvest.

In addition to 10 pounds of greens donated to the food pantry at St. Patrick’s, Chesnut’s vegetable garden has also treated our teachers to 3 days of salad with sides of kale chips, radishes, carrots, beets and cilantro — with Ms. McEwen’s much-loved homemade salad dressing on the side. As a holiday break sendoff, Ms. Malone and Ms. McEwen turned the garden’s latest harvest into hot soups shared in the teachers’ lounge.

And the crops keep on coming! Cabbage, kale, broccoli, lettuce, beets, carrots and now garlic flourish in the courtyard behind Chesnut under the watchful eye of the Chesnut Changers’ scarecrows.

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AT-HOME ACTION: Salad dressing from scratch avoids processed ingredients and contains more nutrients! Plus, according to our teachers, these are delicious:

Garlic/Dijon Dressing
1/4 cup fig vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tsps sugar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1 garlic clove (minced)
2 tbsps canola oil
To prepare dressing, combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Gradually add oil, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Double or triple the recipe, combine all in repurposed glass drink containers with screw-on lids and shake, then store in the fridge.
Spicy Cilantro Buttermilk Dressing
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 garlic clove (peeled)
1 cup cilantro or parsley
Blend all ingredients well in processor. Double or triple for future use. Also good for veggie dip, over a crunchy salmon cobb salad.

As Our Garden Grows, Where Does It Go?

Our fall harvest is coming in, and Chesnut Changers Garden Leader Carissa Malone has already put her plan for it into action. Yields from the garden are distributed via these three avenues, fulfilling Chesnut Changers’ mission to be stewards of school, community and selves:

  1. Chesnut students – scheduled harvest/tasting times to learn where their food comes from and to develop taste for new healthy foods
  2. Chesnut teachers/administration – samples from the garden donated periodically to thank them and encourage them to utilize the garden as a teaching tool
  3. Malachi’s Storehouse food pantry — donations to help serve low-income families in our community

While the Kindergarteners were first to sample radishes from the garden, over the past two weeks, Ms. Ramo’s third graders, Ms. Beecher’s, Ms. Cartwright’s and Ms. Merritt’s second graders, and Ms. Landis’ and Ms. Austin’s first graders also came out for scheduled lettuce and radish tastings.

Chesnut’s garden also donated 1.7 pounds of radishes to Malachi’s Storehouse — a food pantry right up the street from Chesnut based out of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church — which provides emergency groceries to low-income families in our community.

This week Chesnut’s staff found a garden surprise in the teachers’ lounge, with a sampling of the fall harvest prepared by Ms. Malone, including salad greens, pickled radishes and kale chips. Ms. Malone also brought a batch of kale chips for snack at Clean & Beautiful yesterday. They were delicious!

AT-HOME ACTION: Make your own kale chips!

Here’s Ms. Malone’s recipe for kale chips: Wash and cut the leaves away from the stems. Rub the leaves with a little olive oil, honey and salt, and bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes, turning once, until crisp. Fast and nutritious!

Find Dunwoody’s “True Green” Candidates

WHAT: Dunwoody Candidate Forum on Sustainability

WHEN: Tuesday, October 25, 2011

6:00 – 6:45 pm: Coffee with the Candidates
6:45 – 9 pm Candidate Forum

WHERE: (venue moved to…) Peachtree Charter Middle School, 4664 North Peachtree Road
DETAILS: This is an opportunity for you to hear from Dunwoody candidates for Mayor and City Council on their position regarding:

• Economic Development, Clean/Green Technology and Sustainable Business Practices
• Sustainable funding and planning strategies for Parks, Trails and Green Space
• Land use and city planning as it relates to development
• Multi-Modal Transportation
• Energy
• Solid Waste Management
• Social Impact on Sustainability: Aging Population, Demographic shift from Single family to multi-family, Attracting & Retaining Young Professionals
• Locally-Sourced Food Access
• Air & Water Quality
• Dunwoody Sustainability Plan / Sustainable Vision for Dunwoody

Ecology Club Parent Co-Sponsors Angela Renals and Elizabeth Davis hope to see you there!

HAVE QUESTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATES?  In the comments section, post questions you’d like to hear answered at this forum and we will forward them to one of the moderators.