Tuesday 6/2: Soil collection day 1
Sites we visited:
1. Green Tree School in Northwest Philly. I worked with highly-functioning autistic kids/high schoolers. They were very smart and enthusiastic. Their teacher Marianne later told me about the importance of outdoor and engaging education for disabled students (athough I could barely tell they were “disabled”.) I even got to speak Japanese with a few of the students- wow!
2. Roxborough Presbyterian Chruch in NW Philly
3. John B. Kelly Elementary School- worked with 5th graders in testing site for future garden
4. Tipsy and Tula Garden/ Two Goats Garden: located in townhouse community of NW Philly. Garden is on the site of a vacant lot, and beds are against one side of a house.
5. 1522 Rowan Street: Garden in someone’s backyard in a run-down part of NW Philly. Might this be a private garden? We need to find out. The lot next to the garden was FULL of trash that looked like it had been collecting there for years upon years. There was a huge blackberry tree growing over the garden– we marked our steps by squishing black-purple juice.
Exciting points thus far:
1. working with 5th graders from John B. Kelly elementary school. Potential garden to be located on edge of playground, currently grass. All the kids took turns in using the soil corer without the teacher needing to intervene- amazing. 5th grade is the age where kids are excited to do new things, and respect you (myself as a 22-year-old) as someone old enough, with a sufficient age gap. They were so awesome. And the Ms. Carter got Ari and my name right away, and smiled genuinely, and loved that we were working at her school with her kids. (This interaction made me wish I was teaching 5th grade next year!!)
Frustrating points thus far:
1. getting organized enough to contact people ahead of time to get permission and plan gardens within close proximity to test in 1 day. Ari and I decided that although we have verbal consent from gardeners, we figured it would be better to notify the gardener in-charge of our visit on a certain day. If the gardener is present while we take our samples, he/she can also tell us about particular spots in the plot that are of concern.
2. helping the gardeners vs. helping myself for potential future science research. Given the limited amount of money, we can’t test everything. Ari and I have decided that this project is for PEACE– the gardeners and the community. Although I wanted to initally spend the money to do more whole soil tests, Ari suggested we test more vegetables instead. I agreed with her. Data on the amount of heavy metals present in the soil would be very cool to use in future research (/grad school??) but since we received grants from two organizations promoting PEACE, we will be testing more vegetables, which will serve the needs and cater to the requests of community members.