We started a new project this afternoon, one that we will be working on with Elaine's class. The children are most excited to get started.
We began by wondering what the word "sustainable" could mean. I helped a bit by telling the class that part of the word, "sustain", meant to "keep up" or "keep going". When talking about sustainability and our natural world, something is sustainable if it can be used without being completely destroyed or used up. This lead us to talk about natural resources, and how it is our job to make sure they last for years and years to come.
Our project for this semester takes advantage of a child's natural penchant for collecting and saving. Have you ever noticed your child as they eat a piece of fruit and come to the seeds? Most children naturally save these seeds, some even going as far as planting them on the playground. We will be learning about why it is important to save seeds, and use different techniques for doing so. These seeds will be dried, labeled, and finally put into decorated seed packages with planting and growing instructions (these packages will be designed by the students as well, so each will be unique).
Today we started with a very easy one - peppers. This is seed saving 101 - basically you open up the pepper and scrape the seeds onto a plate. For the next three days, we will stir the seeds on the plates to make sure they don't clump together. When the seeds break, not bend, we will know it is time for putting them in envelopes.
During the next weeks, we will be saving tomato, squash, and other seeds. We will also be experimenting with these seeds to make sure that they are viable.