The Edible Forest, the latest project in our Outdoor Learning Landscape, is very slowly coming together. What began as a scrubby, grassy area with some ill loquats and a couple of donated banana plants is taking shape into a true, albeit small, forest complete with canopy, shrub and herbaceous levels. We’ve been talking with the students about the Edible Forest, why we’re doing it and what will be in it, they are excited. Maybe someday this excitement will translate into a career path for our Soaring Eagles.
Here is the site for the Edible Forest. There are a few loquats we are trying to bring back to health and two banana plants donated by Gray Mockingbird Community Garden two years ago. The area must allow space for a vehicle to access the manhole on the west side of the Edible Forest and the electrical equipment behind the fence. Picture a winding path with herbaceous level plants like herbs and other ground covers, shrub level plants and a canopy providing intermittent shade. We’d like to add some seating and signage too. Picture a class walking through the Edible Forest, sitting in the shade for a reading lesson, completing a survey of the species of plants available and researching types of animal and insect visitors to the area. The uses of an Edible Forest for learning are endless!
A Freedom Shores family donated lovely sandstone stepping-stones to create the path. We’re back to our sheet mulching ways under the stones to deter grass and weeds.
The same Freedom Shores family visited our friends at Meadow Beauty Nursery to procure native edible plant and tree species. Once again Carl and Donna were so helpful! Volunteers also installed a sprinkler system that once the plants are established we won’t have to use but in the interim we want to keep our new Forest growing!
What’s Next? We’ve made great progress on our Edible Forest but we need help and funding to finish it all off. We’re hoping a grant comes through so that on Earth Day, April 22nd, we can gather at school for an ‘Earth Day Edible Forest Knockout!’. We hope to get funding to obtain seating, to help us mulch (we need a lot!) and to buy materials for the Art Club to make signage. We’d also like to source a few more herbaceous and shrub level plants. If it all works out we’ll invite our FSE community in to KNOCKOUT the Edible Forest – our last major project of the school year! Stay tuned to the blog for more details.
One way to open your eyes to unnoticed beauty is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’- – Rachel Carson, conservationist