Pumpkin Fun at Riebli Elementary School Garden!

Pumpkin2-RiebliThe Riebli Elementary School garden classes have been busy growing a giant pumpkin! The garden teachers were given a Dill’s Atlantic giant pumpkin start which they planned to enter in a pumpkin growing contest, but the students informally voted not to submit the pumpkin as they wanted to watch it grow.

They used the pumpkin for math lessons: estimating the weight using different methods (circumference verse over the top), measuring the actual weight, measuring circumference, diameter & radius, measuring the perimeter and calculating the area of the leaves, predicting the number of seeds and then grouping and counting the actual seeds.

The Student Council created a computerized voting system to vote on the pumpkin’s name and the lower grades learned about the life cycle after reading “Pumpkins” by Ken Robbins (the plant started to regenerate after they removed the pumpkin).

The giant pumpkin was a huge success and the students really enjoyed it. They are saving the seeds in hopes that students can take home starts of their own in the spring!


Building with Willow in the School Garden

Sherry Gibson, of Wild Woodswoman Creations in Sebastopol, has been designing and creating garden art in North Bay area schools for the last four years using both living willow and nonliving willow for a fun rustic look.
She is currently taking appointments to come and discuss possibilities for installations of living willow structures: faery huts, tipis, shade structures, living chairs and benches, and fences to name a few.
Non living willow projects are also available for trellises, gates, fences, tunnels, bird blinds for wildlife observation, and any other garden infrastructure that can be imagined.
 Any option can be created alone by Sherry Gibson, with the participation of students as a garden project, or open to parents and the public as a fundraiser, with dates being selected from mid-November 2015 through  mid-February 2016.
Schools receive a deep discount on all projects, and price includes free site consultation, construction, materials, and a one year seasonal maintenance plan. Payment plans are an option as needed by any school.
Contact Sherry for further information and/or to make an appointment for a free school visit.


Lexicon of Sustainability Winner-“Soil is Important” contest



Hosted by Natural Resources Defense Council and Lexicon of SUSTAINABILITY

2015 is the International Year of Soils, so in celebration of one of our most important natural resources, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Lexicon of SUSTAINABILITY created the “Voices of Soil” Essay and Video Contest for young farmers, agricultural students, or any young person who appreciates the value of healthy SOIL.

The contest was created to increase understanding and awareness of the vital importance of soil health, and to celebrate the International Year of Soils. Winners were chosen by a special guest panel of distinguished soil leaders, including: Joel Salatin, foremost a farmer, but also a renowned speaker and the author of eight books; Dr. Elaine Ingham, one of the principal leaders in soil microbiology; and Ian Davidson, a soil and fertility expert with extensive training in holisticRESOURCE MANAGEMENT.

Many people understand the connection between soil and food, but fewer people realize soil also has an important role in sequestering carbon and alleviating some of the worst impacts ofCLIMATE CHANGE, like drought and flood. Sustainable agricultural practices like cover cropping can improve soil health by building ORGANIC matter, which allows soil to hold more water. Healthy soil also filters toxic chemicals before they can leach into groundwater or runoff into surface water.  As more people become aware of the importance of soil for providing basic human needs, communities can work together to protect and build healthy soil for farms, cities, and ecosystems.

And the winners are…!

  • Overall Winner for Best Essay: Arianna Stokes, New London, N.H.
    “Soil is alive…if a community is a group of living creatures inhabiting the same place at the same time, the soil, being a living entity, is a member of this community.”
  • Overall Winner for Best Video: Liam Trumble, Chicago.
    “Global warming is partially attributed to our use and misuse of the land and soil.”
  • Winner, Best Essay about Soil and Communities: Ben Gross, Brighton, Mass.
    “I dig out dark, healthy soil and plant basil seeds, covering them with fistfuls of dirt, which leave my hands brown and smelling like earth. My knees are sore but I’m happy; my hands are dirty and will soon be calloused, but I am happy.”
  • Winner, Best Video on Soil and Communities: Weenta Girmay, New Orleans.
    “Water and soil sustain us.  Maintaining the relationship between the two is the best way to preserve our way of life in our historic city.”
  • Winner, Best Essay on Soil and Water: Maria Doerr, Columbia, Mo.
    “Good water and soil quality systems are as, if not more, important than city walkability, access to affordable housing, and the presence of a thriving economic district.  A city is an interconnected system in which manmade and natural components cannot be separated.”
  • Winner, Best Video on Soil and Water: Billy Beaton, Grand Forks, N.D.
    “The relationship between soil and water goes back billions of years.”
  • Winner, Best Essay on Soil and Climate Change: Joanna Brown, Dorchester, Mass.
    “By cooperating with fellow earthlings, we could orchestrate mass CARBON SEQUESTRATION and avoid a dire alternative.  Wetlands, grasslands, and cities could all work to convert volatile atmospheric carbon dioxide to fertile soil wealth.”
  • Winner, Best Video on Soil and Climate Change: Alyssa Bruns, Jackson, N.J.
    “To mitigate global climate change and maintain a healthy planet, we need to return carbon where it belongs – in our soils.”


The Voices of the Soil competition awarded two $1,000 prizes for the best overall video and essay, and six $500 prizes for the best video and essay in each category.

Happening Habitat Workshop at the Laguna Environmental Education Center

School Garden Network just hosted it’s annual School Yard Habitat workshop.  Classroom teachers, garden coordinators, after -school educators, informal outdoor educators and administrators spent the day learning about school yard habitats at the wonderful Laguna Environmental Education Center.

habitat tour

We  had a great tour of the habitat gardens  on site by designer Tony McGuigan who taught us about burying logs on site as a way to both retain water and create habitat for wildlife.

Kirsten Franklin, science advisor with Petaluma School District, helped us to begin to understand the structure of next Generation Science Standards and how this shift to real-world, project -based  scientific understanding will dovetail with schoolyard habitats projects and Citizen Science programs.

Sharon Dado, the “Monarch Lady”, shared her passion for the Monarch Butterfly. We were then thrilled to find lots of Monarch larvae when we went outside to save seeds for seed balls from the native milkweed on site( Asclepius fasicularis). If you look closely at this photo you can see a larvae forming a J shape which it does  just before becoming a chrysalis

.monarch excitement

We concluded the class with making seed balls with native milkweed and Ca Poppy seeds.


The workshop was sponsored by School Garden Network in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife and is a pre-requisite for receiving funding from USFWS for a habitat project.




Free seedlings from Front Porch Farm available tomorrow (Saturday) for school gardens – pick up at the CERES garden

Front Porch Farm has generously donated free seedlings for school gardens!  They are ready to be planted NOW – Lacinato kale, red cabbage, green cauliflower, red lettuce & rainbow chard. They’ll be at Ceres garden for pick up tomorrow (Saturday, October 17th). CERES garden is located behind the O’Reilly Business complex on 116 just north of Sebastopol.  These are likely the last plants of the season.

FREE Ark of Taste seed for School Gardens

 E84V0660 copy

A living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction

Does your school garden want to plant Ark of Taste crops?


Slow Food USA has another great opportunity for everyone to acquire some more Ark of Taste seeds for their gardens.  Thanks to our partnership with Baker Creek Seeds and Chipotle Mexican Grill, we have a surplus of two Ark of Taste seeds that can be planted around the country:

Amish Deer Tongue  Lettuce

Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce

Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce, also known as Matchless lettuce, dates back to 1840. The name, deer tongue, comes from its pointed leaves that are triangularly shaped with green straight edges.  Because of its heat tolerance, it is said to be less prone to bolting under high temperatures. The lettuce has a thin midrib, good texture and wonderful flavor that is pleasantly sharp. This plant is great for home gardeners as it is tolerant of different climates.


Mayflower Bean

Mayflower Bean

The Mayflower Bean arrived in the US in the 1620s with the settlers on the Mayflower. After its initial introduction to the Americas, the bean was widely circulated among the people of the Carolina region of the country. The Mayflower plant has short pods that hold the small, square shaped beans. The beans are a beautiful creamy color with dark-red spec.


To receive one of each of the Ark of Taste seed packets for your school garden, email gardens@slowfoodusa.org with the following information:


Shipping address:

Name of school where seeds will be planted:

Address of school:

There is no cost to these seeds or for shipping.  The seeds will be mailed in a standard envelope within 3-5 days of receiving the necessary information. 



Thanks for helping Slow Food USA distribute these important seeds around the country!

Slow Regards,

Andy, Lauren and Hope

Slow Food USA’s National School Garden Program


© Slow Food USA
1000 Dean St., Suite 222 New York, NY 11238 US
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Project Coordinator position open with the Center for Climate Protection

The Center for Climate Protection, a nonprofit organization based in Sonoma County, seeks a talented team player that is a quick learner, easily relates to and enjoys mentoring young people, is excited about helping implement the ECO2school program in Sonoma County high schools, and is passionate about climate protection.

The mission of the Center for Climate Protection is to inspire, align and mobilize action in response to the climate crisis. We work with business, government, youth and the broader community to advance practical, science-based solutions for significant greenhouse gas emission reductions.

About the ECO2school Program:

ECO2school is an award-winning student leadership program that encourages students to use alternative modes of transportation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This program is designed to integrate with existing high school academics to educate students about personal, community, and environmental health issues related to climate change. We provide assemblies, guest speakers, in-class education and service learning opportunities to support student leaders. By working both in the classroom and with clubs, ECO2school engages students in fun activities that are transformative for participants. Program benefits are not just academic. ECO2school also reduces congestion, saves costs on transportation as well as promotes healthy living, safe commutes, biking, transit ridership, and improved air quality for the entire community.

What the Project Coordinator does:

The Coordinator’s job is a full time position. In the 2015-16 school year ECO2school will operate in nine Sonoma County schools. The Coordinator will eventually be responsible for most of the Sonoma County in school program implementation and follow up.

Example activities include:
• Recruit and mentor student leaders to organize and implement the ECO2school program in schools throughout Sonoma County
• Make presentations to students and community organizations about climate, bicycle safety, and other topics related to active transportation
• Assist student leaders to organize and implement peer-to-peer education activities including bike rides and slow races
• Organize and facilitate youth leadership development trainings
• Develop and maintain a social media presence including a blog and website
• Shoot and edit videos of student activities and post to website
• Work with community leaders and businesses to further develop and support the ECO2school program
• Help with evaluation, data collection, and aggregation
• Collaborate with the Project Manager, other members of the CCP staff, staff from regional partners, vendors and other stakeholders
• Be open to doing new activities as the need arises

Minimum Qualifications:
• Minimum two years relevant work experience including a proven track record of effective leadership, organizing, and communicating. We want proof that you can inspire, align, and mobilize others.
• Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent
• Experience working with young people
• Excellent references

Desired Skills and Qualities:
The position requires an entrepreneurial, personable, confident team member with a sense of humor who possesses the following skills and qualities:
• Works and relates well with young people, especially high school students
• Committed to and understands climate protection
• A good understanding of bicycling street skills and bike mechanics
• Superior oral and written communication skills to craft and articulate clear, concise messages
• Ability to inspire and persuade
• Very well organized and a strong team player
• Ability to work effectively and efficiently with minimal supervision
• Ability to use good judgment, take initiative, and make recommendations to resolve problems
• Ability to motivate people to take action including meeting deadlines
• Skilled in relationship building and networking
• Strong meeting facilitator
• Good listener and a quick learner

This job requires extensive travel throughout Sonoma County and sometimes the greater Bay Area. The successful applicant should own a car or have access to a means of transportation required for work. It would help if you either lived in Sonoma County or are willing to move to here.

Full time salary between $38,000 and $42,000 per year, commensurate with experience. Benefits include paid vacations, holidays, and health insurance. The person in this position will work from the office located in Santa Rosa, California. This position is dependent on grant funding. The Center for Climate Protection is an equal opportunity employer.

To Apply:
They encourage anyone interested in this position to submit an application as soon as possible. Please email your resume and a cover letter of no more than 250 words explaining your interest in the job and why you’re qualified, to Amy Jolly at eco2school@climateprotection.org. Names and contact information for your last three supervisors or clients (including your current supervisor or client, if applicable) will be required upon request.

Please include “ECO2school Project Coordinator” in the subject line and let them know where you learned about the position.

The position is open until filled. They will start reviewing applications on September 11th. No phone calls, please.

Permaculture Design Course with Toby Hemenway

Permaculture Design Course with Toby Hemenway


Looking for deep solutions in a world of challenges?  Our 72-hour Permaculture Design Certificate course, which meets one weekend a month from October, 2015 through March, 2016, will introduce you to strategies and tools for designing and living in landscapes, homes, businesses, and communities that are regenerative—that is, that go well beyond not just depleting resources and the human spirit, but actually renew and invigorate them. The course is led by Toby Hemenway, whose permaculture guidebook, Gaia’s Garden, is the best-selling permaculture book in the world. Having taught over 60 Permaculture Design Courses, Toby is one of the premier permaculture educators in the world today. Guest instructors include acclaimed experts Larry Santoyo, Brock Dolman, Pandora Thomas, Erik Ohlsen, John Valenzuela and others. 

Upon successful completion of the course participants will earn a Permaculture Design Certificate issued by The Permaculture Institute (USA), the principal permaculture certifying body in the US.

To learn more and to register, visit http://www.dailyacts.org/pdc/pdc-intro
For more information, please contact Michael Sturgis at (707) 789-9664 or michael@dailyacts.org

FREE Plants have all been taken

FREE Plants have all been taken.

Hope to have more soon.

See some of you at the Heirloom Expo next week!!


Reminder-Water for Wildlife Workshop-Sept.19th

Water for Wildlife Workshop

Back by popular demand! Come learn how to create a water feature that is safe for wildlife and a complement to your garden–even a drought tolerant garden! In these days of drought, it is important to include water in your home garden to help support wildlife. Water features do not need to be water hogs! Adding the lush allure and music of water to your backyard can be easily done. Don’t make the classic mistakes! Class will be held outside, so dress appropriately. Bring a lunch to enjoy in the bamboo garden after class. Bamboo Garden Tour optional. Guaranteed to be a rejuvenating, inspiring morning!

Saturday, September 19th, 10am to Noon Advance registration $20, $25 at the door

Wild Toad Nursery

Wildtoadnursery.com 3525 Stony Point Road, Santa Rosa Just north of Todd Road

Registration: 707-529-5261 or Sabrina@wildtoadnursery.com