The second week of our summer camp was an exhilarating whirlwind of activities and learning experiences!
In our culinary sessions, we delved into the fascinating realm of food preservation. Our focus on dehydration kicked off on Monday, where we skillfully prepared various fresh fruits such as mangoes and apricots for the dehydrator. The following day was a delightful revelation as students eagerly observed the transformation of the fruits and relished tasting the delectable results. Notably, we also crafted a mouthwatering batch of guacamole, which proved to be a resounding hit among all!
Our permaculture class embarked on an exciting journey by initiating group farm designs. Working collaboratively in small teams, students ingeniously applied their existing knowledge of farms and gardens to curate their unique farm plans. Witnessing the depth of their understanding was awe-inspiring. With remarkable insight, students compiled an extensive list of essentials for a thriving farm: from vital water sources and electricity to an array of crops, animals, and pollinators. Their teamwork culminated in meticulously detailed plans adorned with captivating artwork. These blueprints encompassed diverse elements, from pollinator havens and intricately designed barns to composting zones and an assortment of flourishing crops and animals.
Turning our attention to gardening, we dedicated our efforts to nurturing the tree pits adorning the school's frontage. Drawing from our knowledge of soil health, we meticulously layered compost and wood chips, meticulously watering and introducing new plants and flowers. Upstairs, our garden flourished as we witnessed the seedlings from the previous week's planting venture into new growth. Through meticulous notes in their observation journals, students marveled at the remarkable changes occurring in their cherished plants. Our commitment to sustainability shone through as we nourished the worms in our composting bin, diligently converting food scraps from our culinary endeavors into nutrient-rich compost. The growth of cucumbers and the bloom of sunflowers ignited an atmosphere of excitement and care for our thriving garden.
Hands-on creativity took center stage during our D.I.Y. activities, where students ingeniously crafted solar ovens over two class sessions. This ingenuity culminated in a thrilling Thursday, as quesadillas were expertly prepared on the roof garden using the sun's heat alone.
An unforgettable highlight was our captivating field trip to the science barge on the Hudson River in Yonkers. Here, we unraveled the mysteries of maximizing produce yield in a confined space while serving the local community. Enthralled students immersed themselves in the hydroponic growing system of the greenhouse, appreciating the innovative approach to sustainable farming.
Our week drew to a colorful close with a communal viewing of "The Lorax," followed by a heartwarming visit to Traverse Park on Thursday. With vibrant chalk drawings adorning the park, our students felt a sense of unity and belonging. One student beautifully captured the sentiment, remarking, "It's only been two weeks, but I already feel like we're family!"
These remarkable experiences underscore the deep connections forged in just a short span of time, emphasizing the transformative power of our summer camp.
-Teacher Gina Piersanti