Nature is a Four Season Curriculum

We are very fortunate to have Kristen as our designated Outdoor Specialist and Sustainability Coordinator. In small groups, through outings, nature walks, gardening, art projects, and experiments, she brings a tangible awareness of nature and environmental science to the students in real time, right along with the seasons.

A group of Lower Elementary students were fortunate enough to have their outdoor expedition during the snow.

(Gavin, Aydin, Blake, Muir, Alaska, Amelia, Lucius, and Anneka)

Our gardens in the snow.

Vegetable gardening is a four season activity in Portland!

Gavin and Muir take stock of the Asian greens, broccoli rabe, arugula, and kale that over wintered, and the garlic that is beginning to sprout.

After the snow melt it was time to clean up the raised beds to make room for spring plantings.

Cody, Finn, Luke, William, and Declan harvested kale and offered it to Jason, our new food cart manager.

He gladly accepted and used it to make kale pesto for our toddler’s lunch.

Time to consult the Oregon Tilth Plant and Harvest Calendar to see what vegetables can be planted now.

Students are learning to decipher the first signs of spring on their nature walks and in our garden beds.

Indian Plumb (Oemleria cerasiformis) above and Red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) below herald the coming of spring in Portland.

Yes! Those are worms. Red wigglers to be precise and their new home is here at Sunstone.

Motivated by Lupine Room Green Team students (spearheaded by Jet), Sunstone now has it’s very own vermiculture compost system.

Vermiculture is the process of using worms to decompose organic food waste. The process turns the waste into a nutrient-rich material perfect for plant growth that we will use as fertilizer for our gardens.

Jet, Phoebe, and Alexander (student members of the Green Team) set up the two tiered vermiculture system using Rubbermaid bins, newspaper bedding, red wigglers, organic food scraps, and just the right amount of moisture.

As soon as the weather warms up our vermiculture system will live outside and be maintained by the students through the outdoor program.

Kristen continues to take groups of students on discovery nature hikes to George Himes Park.

Upper Elementary Lupine students Joel and Nathan accompanied Lower Elementary students Addyson, Sara, and Andrew as mentors.

On recent hikes students discovered fungi colonies, a variety of lichen, and underground root systems.

Strike a summit pose!

Team Wesley, Reed, Liam D., and Alex (above) and Team Addyson, Sara, Nathan, Joel, and Andrew (below).

┬áIt’s going to be a nice weekend! Sunny, warm(ish) and perfect for outdoor activity.

Check out this list of Portland’s top outdoor attractions, hikes, and activities for some fun outings this weekend.