Wonderland Update, November 2014

University of Arizona Entomology Program – Sonoran Sky Master Gardener Karen Klein is using Sonoran Sky as the pilot program for bringing the University of Arizona Entomology Insect Outreach Discovery Program into the classroom. Karen will be bringing information from U of A to teach children about the fascinating insects found in our Sonoran Desert. They will learn how to create and maintain a Native Pollinator Habitat with a focus on a Monarch Way Station to aid the monarchs on their migration. Karen will be bringing live hissing cockroaches, millipedes, and ladybugs for the students to experience and explore. Sphinx Moth Caterpillars from Karen’s backyard garden have formed their pupa inMs. Van Dusen’s classroom so that first graders can watch the moths emerge and experience the full life cycle. Ongoing information will be exchanged between U of A and Sonoran Sky.

Wonderland Working Committee We are putting together a core group of volunteers to support Wonderland and make decisions for future planning. If you’re interested in being a part of the Wonderland Working Committee, contact Kristen Neugebauer and Bianca Cords at wonderland@sskypto.com.

Planting Map – Students in grades 1-5 amended the soil and planted a tapestry of vegetables and flowers from seed and seedlings. Some of the plants are even ready to taste, like the sweet stevia, chives, spinach, and Red Sails lettuce. We may even have enough food to donate to a soup kitchen. Now that the planting is complete, the science lessons begin! Karen will bring in live earthworms for the students to experience and learn all about the worm castings that were used as a soil amendment, an organic source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and micronutrients to help plants grow.

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Arbor – Student Council voted to buy an arbor that would be placed at the entrance of the middle gate of Wonderland. Stay tuned.

Compost – We are looking at cost-effective options, such as building a compost area from crates or bricks.

Shade Structures – We are obtaining bids and submitting a grant application for shade structures over the classroom area. A parent from our school is recommending our school for the American Academy of Dermatology sun structure grant.

Garden Art – Ms. Arola-Johnson’s Enrichment class is making totem poles to be showcased in  pre-identified spaces in the garden. All students will be involved in art projects that will be used in Wonderland, such as recycled CD hangers, clay creations, and wall art.

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