Celebrate Biological Diversity in the Garden

May 22nd is International Day for Biological Diversity! What is biological diversity? Biological diversity–or biodiversity for short–refers to the variety of life forms found in a habitat or ecosystem as measured on a global scale. When scientists talk about diversity, they are generally most concerned with the passing on of genes that enable a species…

Every Teacher a Food Educator! How to Expand Garden-to-Classroom in Every School

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the 9th National Farm-to-Cafeteria conference in Cincinnati, OH. Sponsored by the Farm-to-School Network, this conference brings together foodservice directors, nutrition specialists, farmers, producers, and policymakers from all over the country. As a formal educator, I am definitely considered a minority stakeholder, despite the argument that more school…

Aspiring Soil Engineers Design a Perfect Seed Starting Mix

Geotechnical engineering is a specialty area within the environmental sciences that deals with geology and soil.  These professional experts analyze the substrate of a site to determine the viability for construction or development based on soil properties. I imagine similar skills are used to make the bagged “soils” we purchase at our favorite garden store…

Underground Teaching Resources for Stewarding the Soil

Soil. It’s everywhere, but few people take notice of this incredible resource right beneath our feet. When people do notice the soil, they often see it as something to avoid. “Don’t get dirty,” they warn young children. With these underground resources, you (and your children) can get all the dirt on soil. Children’s Picture Books…

Paperwhite Pinwheels and the Joy of Winter Plants

The Friday before the winter break can be a nightmare for teachers and parents alike. The anticipation of the holiday makes children restless and the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations can be stressors for all. These were the thoughts I had prior to gathering the Dirt Girls for their weekly garden session on Friday…

Return of the Dirt Girls: Fostering Teamwork and Inclusion in the Garden

A little over a year ago, I established an after school club that I dubbed “Dirt Girls.” The decision to limit participation only to girls was initially motivated by the relative inequity in STEM fields. According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up just 29% of the STEM workforce. Research suggests that time…