Garden Elves and Parent / Teachers

Dear Waters Friends, 

In order to cut funding for the ecology program, an analysis was done of my time allocation, based on my google calendar. It turned out that I only work 45% of a full time position! This came as a shock to me. Even tho I wasn’t consulted on the process, it seems to me I work all day, after school, weekends and summertime. It comes with the demands of the program that we have created over the past 25 years. 
In fact, when I corrected the time allocation chart for the LSC, it turns out I work 150% of a full time job. How is that possible?

Garden Elves! How do I keep the garden in good order and ready for use by our students? How do we maintain soil fertility, keep the beds in good order, weed and prune, compost waste, keep the tools in order, repair the wheelbarrows and hoses and everything else? How is it possible to keep the plants alive and thriving during the blazing summer so that students can partake of luscious veggies and fruit in the Fall? Garden Elves! Parents, neighbors, former LSC members, and teachers who volunteer, for free, every day, and gather en masse on our workdays to do their magic.  We have 400+ people on the garden email list, and probably 50 active volunteers. These people magnify my efforts, they vastly multiply my capacity. Our system is one that is a model for gardens around the city. They are paid only in friendship, appreciation, music and food.

Parent / Teachers
We had 48 off site field trips last year. How is this possible?? 250+ parents volunteered to be co-leaders, parent / teachers, exploring and learning with our children, allowing us to work in groups of 7-8, instead of 30. During pre-trip briefings, and extra workshops, parents are invited to learn about the pedagogy involved in our field outings, the science content of our trip, and how to respond to student work. Parents learn the ecology lessons, and with their groups, experience the surprises of wild nature. We write, we sing, we draw, we pursue our curiosity. On ecology field trips, we are building a learning community that continues after school, after Waters and throughout life. 

One teacher told me that her class’s garden experiences changed their whole day, inspired and relaxed her students, and filled them with joy and happiness. A sixth grade teacher, walking with her class to River Park to net benthic organisms and conduct chemical tests, and sketch wild nature, told me “This is what I signed up for when I decided to be a teacher. Not to drill students for tests.”

Our ecology program and garden are unique and powerful places for students to engage Life. Please help us to restore  funding and to keep the programs intact and protected.
Please join us on Saturday, July 9 from 10:00 to 12:00 to let the LSC know what you think. 

Mr Leki