Garden Project Certifications


Garden Engineering

What happens when critters come to the Edible Lab and eat up those precious vegetables we have worked hard to grow?

Well, in Peter Rabbit, our first grade’s core literature unit, Peter’s father was made into a pie by Mrs. McGregor when he was caught snacking in the McGregor’s vegetable patch.

We won’t quite do that.

We DID, however, put on our engineering hats and constructed cages to help us protect our crop.

Utilizing PVC pipes and fittings, students from grade third through fifth had the opportunity to participate in the construction of eleven cages, dimensioned 8’x4’x3’, to be placed around the raised bed planters in the Edible Lab.

Working in teams of 12 members and guided by adult volunteers, students learned cooperation, communication, and team work as they put their heads and hands together to calculate, collect parts, and correctly construct the cage to the specified design.

As all have quickly learned, the exercise was harder than they first perceived. Learning to work together was no easy task. Obtaining consensus and get people to all listen can be difficult at best. But as each team fixed their mistakes and managed their failures (no team passed the “drop test” at their first attempt) to finally complete the final working model, the feeling of accomplishment and pride was evident. The kids were happy and proud of what they’ve built.

It was a joy to watch the children tackling something with real life application. There were no fancy equipment or gadgets involved, just basic combinations of math, physics, design and manufacturing that are the basis of engineering. The kids had a great time. It was a thrilling experience for us adults as well to witness their growth.

Nice to think that we are now growing future engineers in our Garden, too.

How Succulents can be used to Educate

6th grade students from Sycamore Canyon School careers elective class is learning about business skills and entrepreneurship through a hands-on, educational fundraiser class project, growing and selling succulents for the holiday season.

Backstory:  The SCS Garden was approached by a school parent wanting to donate cuttings from their backyard succulents.  The Garden does not have space to accommodate the donation, but did not want the cuttings to go to waste.  Hence, an idea was formed and proposed to our 6th grade math and science careers class teacher Mrs. Smith to grow and sale succulents as an educational experiment.  The Garden provided the fund for the purchase of supplies (soil and containers), and the teacher used this opportunity to teach the kids basic business concepts such as investment, fixed cost, gross income, and net profit.  The kids designed and grow their succulent gardens, set the price, and did their own marketing.  The exercise will culminate in a succulent sale on school campus on Tuesday, December 19th, 1:30 to 2:30pm, where the participants will put their business endeavor to the test.  The fund raised will benefit the Garden.

We wish the kids best of luck next Tuesday.  It will be exciting and interesting to see how this experiment turns out and what the kids learn from this exercise.


Community Gardening Day Bigger than Ever

By: John Malouf, SCS Garden Project Scout Coordinator.

Our first Community Gardening Day of the 2017-2018 school year at the SCS Garden was a huge success.  We were grateful for such a large turnout allowing us to give our maturing Garden a thorough fall cleaning – We filled the roll away dumpster 4 times!

A special thank you to all of the students and parents who participated.  Please come again next time and bring your friends!  Our next garden service day will be Friday January 26th.   See you there!



Experienced Helpers

By: Marivic Marko, Adopt the Garden Coordinator

3rd grade classes have come to Adopt the Garden for the month of November. These experienced gardeners showed enthusiasm for helping make the garden look great. We focused on raking pathways, creating a neat mulch border along the paths, picking up trash and dusting out spider webs. Many thanks to these special 3rd graders for their hard work!


Ms. Shmina, and Parent Volunteer, Debbie Shin
Mrs. Hise and her class, and Parent Volunteer, Michelle Czubek
Ms. Roberts and her class, and Parent Volunteers, Casey Evans, Eszter Zubovics and Sonceriae Armstrong
Mrs. Creekbaum and her class, and Parent Volunteers, Anette Power and Shauna Hutton
Mrs. Konantz/Mrs. Wilson and their class
Mr. Hoyle and his class, and Parent Volunteer, Jamie Voegler
Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Arnold and Mrs. Nelson’s Special 5th/3rd Grade Class Garden Buddies, and Parent Volunteer, Heidi Nielsen

Water in Nature

By: Marivic Marko, SCS Adopt the Garden Coordinator

What an unexpected delight it was to discover Mrs. Creekbaum’s 3rd grade class conducting a science experiment in the garden!

The students were discovering how water reacts in nature – will it repel or absorb?

Using water droppers and taking detailed notes in their science notebooks, students roamed the garden squeezing water droplets on dried leaves, flowers, rocks, dirt, and even a tree stump. They also tested water droplets on non living things such as the plastic base of the garden umbrellas, a decorative orb, and the cement animal footprints.

After the experiment, Mrs. Creekbaum invited her young scientists to share what they discovered. Many observed that some leaves were repelling water, while the tree stump absorbed water. Lively discussion followed and the students had a fantastic time.

It was a joy to see Mrs. Creekbaum and these young scientists utilize the garden as their outdoor classroom!

A Visit to Africa for our 1st Graders

This reporting is belated as the actual event took place in June of this year, at the conclusion of the 2017-2018 academic year, before we graduated our then 1st graders and send them off for their summer break.

Rounding off the core unit on the study of the continent Africa, an immersion experience was brought into the Garden for the first time to allow the students to encounter authentic West African drums and percussion instruments.  Drum makers and performers from Wooden Roots explained the step-by-step making of djembes, a rope-tuned skin-covered goblet drum played with bare hands, as well as shared and educated the children of  some of the cultural artifacts from West Africa.  The workshop included a mini music and dance performance, demonstrations of the various instruments, hands-on learning of a few traditional West African rhythms and dance steps, culminating with a professionally lead, energetic drum circle participated by every child. 

It was a wonderful and enriching experience for the children.  A great time was had by all, and we look forward to having Wooden Roots return next June to entertain and educate our next generation of 1st grade kids.


5th Grade Kicks off the 2017-2018 School Year for Adopt the Garden

By Marivic Marko, Adopt the Garden Coordinator

The 5th grade classes came out in the month of October to kick start the garden cleanup for the school year. Without regular maintenance during the summer, we found the garden in need of work. The walkways were narrowing from overgrown bushes, weeds were a problem in the riverbed, and winds left trash littered throughout the garden.

The entire 5th grade class, along with their wonderful teachers, came out to lend a hand. We even had extra help from a special Garden Buddy partnering of Mrs. Taylor’s 5th grade class and Mrs. Arnold & Mrs. Nelson’s 3rd grade class!

With rakes and trowels in hand, our 5th graders and 3rd grade Garden Buddies removed weeds and raked up pathways. Bags and bags of weeds and trash were filled up and the garden began to look tidy again, thanks to the hard work of these students!


Ms. Mertz and her class, and Parent Volunteer, Crystal Stenner
Mrs. Hollins and her class, and Parent Volunteer, Arlett Torres
Mr. Hoyle and his class, and Parent Volunteer, Jamie Voegler
Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Arnold and Mrs. Nelson’s Special 5th/3rd Grade Class Garden Buddies, and Parent Volunteer, Heidi Nielsen