Noelle Kramer hadn’t planned to delve into citizen science, but her students were rather persuasive. As her third and fourth graders in Dixon, California read aloud from Time for Kids, something sparked their interest. “An article on a citizen science program called The Lost Ladybug Project asked kids to become ladybug spotters in order to help scientists find a native species that had nearly disappeared,” says Noelle.
Right Side Box:
The Tale of the Lost Ladybugs
Once the state insect of New York, the nine-spotted ladybug population diminished until it all but disappeared from the radar. In fact when some youngsters spotted one of them near their Virginia home in 2006, it was the first of that species seen in the Eastern United States in 14 years! John Losey and other scientists at Cornell University figured that if lots of eyes scoured the country, they might help find more of them along with some other native lady beetles that were also disappearing. And so, the Lost Ladybug Project was born. But it wasn’t just about documenting locals. Scientists – and many homeowners – noticed that populations of other ladybugs were exploding. This included the orangey Asian lady beetle, which was introduced in this country to control pests. Have these imports excluded the native species from their habitats? This is one of the questions that scientists are exploring, thanks to a growing team of citizen scientists.
Teaching Life Skills through a Youth Garden Business
Vocational agriculture teacher Rose Ormsby-Krueger (North Hollywood, California) uses a cut flower garden and farmers’ market enterprise to teach North Hollywood High School students valuable life skills. “Flowers don’t tell you they’re hungry every day, but they tell you they’re thirsty,” she says. “It takes responsibility to make sure they get watered and taken care of.”
Growing flowers helps teach kids many art, language, language arts, math, and science concepts—along with patience, responsibility, and appreciation for the natural world. Below are some lesson ideas we really like.
NGA President Mike Metallo Remembers Kitchen Garden Season Kick-Off
Mike Metallo, NGA President and Michelle Obama working with the children in the gardenI'm sitting in Reagan National Airport waiting for my flight and thinking back on the events of the White House Kitchen Garden Season Kick-Off. It was a once-in-a-lifetime day.
Five years ago, Helen Krofchick’s music students in Lugoff, SC, could be found tapping on old cans and rubbing sticks. Why? Inspired by a visiting artist and video clips of a group called STOMP*, the K-5 classes tried using “found” objects, including things from the environment, to create and perform unique sounds and rhythms. After loads of inside practice, they wondered what their inventive instruments would sound like if they played them in the schoolyard.
What better way to celebrate your child’s spring or summer birthday than with a garden party? Although fancy dresses and tea sandwiches may come to mind, kids love to run around outside, play games and get their hands into the dirt-- all fun activities to keep them engaged and maybe even learn a little about the wonders of plants and seeds. Here are ideas for invitations, decorations, activities, refreshments and favors that will make your child’s big day a memorable one.
Inner City Market Garden: Fresh Produce at Low Cost
A former classroom teacher with a passion for raising healthful food, Arna Caplan was volunteer director of a winning seed-to-table school garden program at an inner city K-8 school in Denver. “The Fairmont garden was always a special and accessible place where all students were welcome and involved,” says Arna. But as in many such projects, finding volunteers to maintain the garden through the summer was a huge challenge.
Kids Gardening and the National Gardening Association actively work with schools and communities across the country to provide educational resources and build gardens to promote health, wellness, and sustainability.