Archive for February, 2015

Dreaming in Green, A midwinter’s update from our Garden Coordinator, Rachel Lyn Rumson

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Our Opportunity Farm Gardens
The goal of the garden project last year was to greet the incoming class with a thriving garden full of pumpkins. The garden thrived! The soils however did not support a healthy pumpkin crop. When the students arrived, fall harvest was underway. Staff were making sauces and pickles in anticipation of the students arrival. Harvest season was warm so the harvest rolled on so long no one in New Gloucester wanted to see another tomato.
wheelbarrow

The garden was a buzz with life and activity all summer and Fall. It yielded a variety of annual vegetables, perennial edibles, flowers and eggs. We produced over one hundred pounds of tomatoes, fifteen pounds of potatoes, a bushel of green peppers, six bushels of green beans, a bushel of beets and one of turnips, fifteen pounds onions, celery, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, a few pumpkins, a variety of greens, corn, oats and herbs.

spindly chard

This bounty was a collaboration of Wayfinder Schools Garden project Class of 2014 and the following friends and organizations:

Senior Fare

Grant Rascoe and the Notre Dame Alumni Association

Bettie the Bus Initiative

The Resilience Hub

Thompsons Orchard

Trafford Construction

Maine Heritage Orchard Project

Diversified Communications

Garbage to Gardens

Donna’s Garden Center

Foundation Grants

Students have been engaged in the landscape through the garden project and Green Initiatives curriculum. They collected soil samples, harvested crops, collected material for the grape trellis, decorated their home with flowers, and tended the slug-eating ducks.

Molly

Rachel Lyn, the Garden Coordinator, has begun to teach the students about permaculture, an ecology-based farming and homestead design science. Students will continue this learning with an ecology lab this Spring. They will learn the process of ecological garden design, collecting data and analyzing the systems of their garden and designing some new systems to maximize the ecological capacity of it.

daisies

Lessons learned in the garden this year are 1) mulching works well, 2) plants are susceptible to pests, 3) the soil needs some amendments and 4) the winds are severe at times. The technique known as sheet-mulching that was used in the raised beds was super productive, fertile, moist and required no weeding (really, none at all), while the other beds that were traditionally tilled and hoed, were endlessly in need of weeding. All the plants were protected by our slug-eating duck family (Molly, Dolly and Duke).

Our squash and cucumber crops were decimated by pests, which has a lot to do with the health of the soil. After a soil test, we learned that the soil is depleted of several trace elements including, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, boron, manganese, copper, zinc and cobalt. Soil amendments will be the best defense against pests this season. They will boost plant health and the nutrition of the food we grow.

Corn!

Using an Aerometer we recorded winds of 55 knots this past Spring. The winds are so strong out in the garden that it is not a safe to plant the heirloom apples that were donated by the Maine Heritage Orchard Project. Windbreaks will be needed to protect the trees as well as the crops from both from Northeasterly winter winds and predominant winds from the West. The apple trees, which are securing the biodiversity of apples in the State of Maine, are currently healed in to the center of the garden.

Plans for the start of the season are to amend the soil, finish the grape trellis, acquire, haul and spread six more yards of wood chips, build a new bed for garlic, dig a small pond and line it, design a windbreak crop using agroforestry techniques, plant the heritage orchard and planting a class crop. The ducks are Wintering at a the home of the farming family to return the in Spring as well for slug patrol. It might also be fun to design a new tool shed and wash station in the garden, out of cob, an earthen material that holds up well and is fun to work with as a community.

outdoor classroom

We have a unique Farm to School opportunity at Wayfinder; as an institutional system tapping into local farms we can produce homestead-scale food system on campus that distributes the surplus to food insecure families, Passages students, and generate some cash in the marketplace through a community supported agriculture program, farm stand, and supply local restaurants. We have a lot of land to work with establishing small areas of edible landscape outside of the garden fence too. This will put us in play with a thriving local food movement.

In order to scale up production some planning needs to be done. If a CSA is allowed to run on campus some infrastructure is needed including a washing station, refrigerators, irrigation systems and season extension. To keep the science in place, soil thermometers, brix meters and maple tapping tools are needed as well. That is no small list of wishes, but dream big I say. Thank you to everyone who had their hands, head and heart in it!

faith's flowers

 


Ten local stars take the stage April 10!

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Local Stars to take the stage of The Camden Opera House April 10

The 7th annual Dancing with Local Stars will be held on Friday, April 10 at the Camden Opera House. This popular event pairs midcoast celebrities with professional dance instructors who take the stage together to show off their best dance moves in support of Wayfinder Schools.

This year’s incredible cast of stars includes Ben Curtis, Polly Saltonstall, Heather Hearst, Matt Bixby, Owen Casas, Hodding Carter, Betsy Kingsley, Craig Oullette, Erin Ovalle, and Lucinda Ziesing. Each star will be paired with instructors from Swing & Sway Dancing or Kinetic Energy Alive. Together they will will Salsa, Cha Cha, Hip Hop, Hustle and Swing their way into the hearts of audience members, all for a great cause-helping Maine teens graduate from high school.

The show will also include special performances by Studio Red, Shana Bloomstein, Korinn’s Dance, Rockport Dance Conservatory, Atlantic Ballet Company, Swing & Sway Dancing, Kinetic Energy Alive and the students of Wayfinder Schools, making for an unforgettable evening in support of Maine kids.

Hair and make up for the stars will be provided by The Cutting Room and Beauty Mark. Erin Donovan of Spoon and The Bangor Daily News will MC the show. This incredible community effort wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the 2015 Dancing with Local Stars sponsors: Lead Event Sponsor Camden Real Estate Company, Old Port Advisors, Maine Magazine, Pen Bay Pilot and Charles D. Jordan, Jr. Real Estate Appraisal & Consulting.

This show sells out quickly and early purchase of tickets is strongly recommended. Doors open at 6:15 and the show starts at 7:00pm. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for children ages 12 and under, with prime seating available at $50. Tickets are available at HAVII in Camden and online at www.wayfinderschools.org


“Becoming the Other,” our new theater class with Instructor Andrea Itkin

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Becoming the Other

Becoming the Other describes the intent of the theater class I am teaching at the school–putting yourself into someone else’s shoes, seeing the world as someone else sees it, finding the parts of yourself that exists in others. So far, the class has learned some improvisation and centering techniques, performed poems by Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, Sharon Olds, Dorianne Laux and Theodore Roethke, and read Glass Menagerie, Lost in Yonkers, and The Diary of Anne Frank.

I asked the students to identify the most memorable role they played.  While most picked characters from Lost in Yonkers, Myranda selected Anne Frank.  Here’s what they all had to say:

Rakeem: Jay because I often feel like I’m the person who has to stand up for other people.

Erika: Bella because she has a personality like no other. She is very outgoing and always stands up for herself. Bella doesn’t take anything from anyone, especially her mother.

Rose: Grandma. It was quite a challenge for me to act and keep an accent, as I had never done that before. I found it interesting that it was so easy for me to step into her character when I am so different from her as a person.

Faith: I had a lot of fun playing Bella because I got to be emotionally outrageous. I loved how she was raw, but still presented herself in a very light hearted way.

Alex: Artie because he was mischievous; I related to the scene of him going down to the freezer because I went down to the basement of the school to shut the power off to get out of class.

Ethan: Eddie, the father, because it was an easy connection for me.

Fiston: I loved playing Grandma, because she couldn’t speak good English and her personality was awesome.

Elijah: Jay because Alex and I could laugh at everyone together just like brothers; it was fun to play.

Myranda: Anne from The Diary of Anne Frank; she speaks her mind, she has her own little attitude and speaks as if she is older than she really is. She’s going through a hard time, and I can relate having to live in a small space with a lot of people and bumping heads a lot.

 becoming the other 1
A recent Becoming the Other Class with, L-R: Rakeem, Rose (holding a copy of that day’s reading, Diary of Anne Frank), Instructor Andrea Itkin, Erika, Myranda and Papi

 


Fabulous student writing, reviews, recipes & more in our Winter 2015 Passages Press!

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Passages Press Newsletter Winter 2015