Crestmont Elementary School Kindergardeners toured the garden and fed the Koi fish, interviewed the Landscape architecture graduate students who were installing a new bench they had designed and built, and they picked up magnolia leaves from the event lawn and worked in the create with nature zone building sculpture from natural materials from the garden.
Two graduation events were held in the garden this year. The U.C. Berkeley Conservation Resource & Sciences graduation ceremony and celebration was held on Saturday, May 14th. The other event was on Sunday, May 15th -- the awards ceremony & celebration for the U.C. Department of Landscape and Environmental Planning, and the Department of Urban Planning graduating undergraduates and graduate students. Both days were chilly and windy but the last of the season's rain held off during the events.
Last week a swarm of bees congregated outside the greenhouse office. We called our beekeeper, Chris Bauer to inform him of the hive that was forming in a small tree near our door. Geared up, Chris cut the bee covered old branch and dropped the bees into a box. We moved the bees to their new location on the east side of the creek.
The old location we have for the bees is collapsing. We are building a new site with the work of staff, volunteers, and the EDSET student interns from Albany high school on the east side of the creek. An area was cleared of invasive blackberries, concrete pavers were set in the ground for a platform for the bee boxes, a small bridge was built for the beekeeper Chris Bauer to access the hives. And steps made from the stone pine that came down recently were set into the slope.
The Japanese have a saying that goes something like: "three minds make a genius". The compost sifting structure was originally conceptualized by one our last years EDSET interns, Miguel, from Albany high School. This spring, Danny (one of our workstudy students) and Kochi, both undergraduate students from the Landscape Architecture Construction Materials and Build class developed the idea and built the structure from hand hewn redwood branches from the garden. Later 9th graders Biology students from El Cerrito High School tested it out by producing wheel barrows of compost for the garden. The structure works great and we are producing coarsely and finely sifted compost. By having such a direct hands on experience with the material students and volunteers are seeing how and what breaks down in the composting process.
U.C. undergraduate students from William Berry's 2010 ES 125 class, Bay Area Landscapes, returned to the garden a year later to check on the planting they had done in the wetland as a hands on experiential learning project. It's a success, with most all of the plants surviving, the invasive species reduced and tadpoles swimming amongst the bulrushes and cattails planted in the pool.
In late April, artist Zach Pine worked with California College of the Arts sculpture students in the Create with Nature Zone building temporary sculpture with materials provided by the garden.