Friday, September 18, 2009

Silver Bells, And Cockle Shells

Mistress Mary,
Quite contrary,
How does your
garden grow?

Every school in the county should have a garden. It's a great educational tool, and there are tons of grants available. It can even get the cafeteria staff involved in something educational.

It's also a chance for the school system to work with DeKalb Co. The county is looking to start a big community garden program. In Decatur, a school and the parks & rec. dept. share a garden. A school garden program is something DeKalb schools should have done long agon considering the amount of administrators they have.

2009 Georgia Outdoor Classroom Symposium Registration is Open

Please save the date for Georgia's 13th annual Outdoor Classroom Symposium to be held Friday, October 30, 2009 at Chase Street Elementary School in Athens, GA! This year’s theme of "Growing Fertile Minds" will feature sessions on how to create specific types of school gardens, how to start farm-to-school programs, and how to use your school grounds to enhance cross-curricular learning. The always popular "make and take" classes and post-symposium workshops will also be offered. Other highlights will include informative exhibits prepared by program providers and outdoor classroom experts, a local farm-fresh lunch, presentation of the Outdoor Classroom Service Award, and endless opportunities for networking and inspiration!

Enter the outdoor classroom photography contest for a chance to win free registration. Educators may choose to earn one Professional Learning Unit (1 PLU) by also participating in a post-symposium workshop, Endangered Plant Species Network or Digging Deeper: Farm to School, at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens on Saturday, October 31.

Registration is now open! - Complete Details / Register
Register by September 30 to receive the earlybird discount!

The Outdoor Classroom Council (OCC) is an initiative of the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia (EEA) and is comprised of a coalition of organizations and individuals who share an interest in the design, development, maintenance, use, and longevity of outdoor classrooms. OCC serves teachers, parents, principals, and community volunteers by coordinating Georgia's annual Outdoor Classroom Symposium and providing resource information at

More info. on school gardens available at:


Feel free to share how your own schools work to beautify the grounds or special programs you have to teach children about tending and respecting the earth. Great ideas are always welcome!


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea and it's long overdue.

Knowing the Crawford Lewis administration, some asst./assoc. superintendent will assign a mid-level administrator to do a "white paper" on it, they'll present the "white paper" to the BOE, and you'll never hear anything about it again.

Nobody passes the buck like Dr. Tim Freeman, Associate Superintendent.

Anonymous said...

Good call on Tim Freeman. Just another cog in Crawford's extremely well paid inner circle.

Pattie Baker said...

The Vanderlyn Elementary School organic vegetable garden was installed yesterday! Congrats to Tina Wilkinson for spearheading this effort, to Principal Noel Maloof for embracing the vision, and to Daron "Farmer D" Joffe for once again sharing his passion through action. (And a warm welcome to Ashley Rouse who is the liaison on school gardens for Farmer D Organics.)

As for community gardens, the Dunwoody Community Garden at Brook Run was conceptualized in mid-July and opened August 23. It has 60 plots (which sold out in 48 hours) and 20% of the garden is dedicated to helping families in need through a local food pantry and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. See This is a citizen-run initiative that received no money from either DeKalb County or the City of Dunwoody.

You have more ability as individuals to effect change than you may think. We all stand on the shoulders of those before us, and hold our position firmly for the ones who follow us. Please feel free to contact me for more information.

Pattie Baker said...

(Yes, I know it should be "affect")

Anonymous said...

Great post, Pattie. We can not rely on DCSS or the county. They just don't get it. They are more concerned with maintaining their overly large bureaucracies than they are with projects that truly affect positive change, like school and community gardens.

Pattie Baker said...

Listen, school gardens and outdoor classrooms are terrific (and I advocate for them often), but the greatest outdoor classroom is TIME SPENT OUTDOORS.
I've been researching recess nationwide since it was mentioned on this blog a little while ago, and I did a post on it this AM. See here:

Cerebration said...

Right on, Patti. I love your blog - you target your green theme from every angle. You are so correct in pointing out the recess issue along with the women who spoke at the last board meeting.

Years ago, my daughter's first grade teacher would take the entire class out for a community walk - along the sidewalk. The kids loved it. I had better go back and thank her for that!

Also, Oak Grove has a wonderful outdoor greenspace with a little "amphi-theatre" composed of wooden benches built by parents. I used to take the students out there weekly, as an "Art Club" volunteer and read a story while they illustrated it - and then let them roam around the space and draw what they saw (which was often a neighbor's cat who would pose on a bench for them!)

Any parent knows how important outdoor time is to children. Heck - back in the 60's my nun-teachers took us outside every day - twice a day - and if it was rainy, they would even get down on the gym floor and play crab ball with us - in full habit! They knew. My mother-in-law taught 2nd grade for 30 years. She had a door that led directly outside to the playground and would just open it and let the kids out when they started to get restless and inattentive. Teachers know.

Why do the members of the DeKalb Board of Education and Dr. Lewis and staff not know?

Dekalbparent said...

My 17 year old daughter has an art assignment to paint an endangered species. She picked an Amazon frog.

She said "Their eyes are cool - like the CBS logo".

I said, "Frog eyes ARE cool. Are they shiny - metallic?"

She said "I don't know."

I said "When you look at a frog or pick it up, you see the shine. Salamander eyes are sometimes the same way."

She said "I've never looked at a frog that close up. Except for dissecting one."

I fell into remembering all the time I spent at the stream and the pond as a kid, looking at the frogs and bugs and dragonflies.

I am sad.