The EDS Association Annual Auction Party has been moved to the fall. Please join us on our new playground for a Backyard BBQ on Sunday, September 20th from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. More information to come!
What happens when you get 7 science teachers from EDS and 2 Phinizy Center educators together for a day? Lots of fun!
On June 4, Aaliyah Ross and Ruth Mead joined 7 Episcopal Day School science teachers at their new Flowing Wells property and conducted a Wow! The Wonders of Wetlands curriculum workshop. Although the property was purchased to fulfill a need for a sporting complex, their dreams for an array of uses continue to expand. Some of these dreams include using the property as an outdoor learning center where the students can experience science live.
That’s where the Phinizy Center education department fits in. Located down the hill on the property are wetlands that border some of the headwaters for Rae’s Creek. As Wow! facilitators, we felt introducing a wetland curriculum would be a perfect start in getting teachers excited about getting students outside.
The morning started with a quick introduction and few sample activities, then off to the wetlands we headed – soil auger and wetland plant keys in hand. Everyone suited up in chest waders then of course we had to let them try the waders out. We marched right into the wetland below the beaver dam – well – not really marching. It was more like sinking and we did – up to our knees. The soil was so mucky that it would not even stay in the auger. Once we pulled everyone back out, we worked on the edge keying out some herbaceous wetland plants.
We would not give up though, so after a hike around the pond exploring different soils, we went back to the beaver pond but this time above the dam. Success! The soil auger went in and the soil that came out was most impressive – a solid black organic wetland soil. In fact, it was so gooey and jet black that we thought we had hit crude oil. The decomposing organic matter at Phinizy swamp gets washed towards the creek leaving behind mottled and gleyed mineral soils. In the beaver pond, the organics are trapped building up to make a true organic soil yet rich in clay.
Back to the building for lunch and some indoor activities as we cooled off before heading outside for more engaging fun. The teachers formed 3 teams and we challenged each team to build a boat with the wetland plant material we had collected. The challenge was to float the boat across the pond carrying a handful of M & M’s. One team used the leaf from an Arrow Arum as a sail and this boat left all the others in the dust – or I should say at the water’s edge.
The day ended right on schedule. The teachers enjoyed the curriculum and were excited to begin scheduling outdoor learning experiences for their students. Next we hope to get them in Rae’s Creek for some stream ecology and Adopt-A-Stream (AAS) training.
Sounds fun? The Phinizy Center education group would be happy to conduct a teacher workshop for your school. We are facilitators for Wow! The Wonders of Wetlands, Project WET (water education for teachers), Healthy Water Healthy People, and The Urban Watershed, as well as GA AAS trainers.
Congratulations to the students who made the fourth quarter honor roll!
|Grade 8||Grade 7||Grade 6|
Mary Ellen J.
Sarah Catherine P.
As summer began, EDS experiential learning continued its trailblazing trend with the second international student trip in the school’s history. Accompanied by 7th grade teacher and science coordinator, Mary Ann Marriott, and 3rd-8th grade teacher and choral director, Barbara Hancock, fourteen middle schoolers spent a week exploring the culture, history, and natural phenomena of Belize. From their base camp at the Macal River Camp, students traveled daily to explore all things Belizean. Hiking the largest Mayan ruins of central America, Caracol, located in the Mayan Mountains, traveling back in history while tubing through a series of natural limestone caves, working the Pacbitun Mayan Dig deep in the rainforest lead by Dr. Terry Powis of Kennesaw State University, building a sidewalk during a day of service at the San Jose RC School in Succotz Village (which was followed, of course, by a rousing game of Belizean football), canoeing and exploring the flora, fauna, and wildlife were just some some of the ways that students were immersed in the life, lifestyle, and history of this beautiful country. Leaving their natural alarm clocks of howler monkeys at the river camp, our intrepid explorers then journeyed to Caye Cauker, one of the beautiful islands located off of the coast of Belize, where the days were spent snorkeling on the phenomenal MesoAmerican Barrier Reef. On this awe inspiring living coral reef, students got up close with a myriad of sea life, such as sea turtles, stingrays, nurse sharks, and developed a deeper understanding of the delicate balance of our oceans. Our travelers arrived back home tired, yet exhilarated, by the friendships formed, knowledge gained, and with stories to last a lifetime. EDS is proud of these students and is honored to offer international travel as part of the EDS learning experience. Chill Expeditions, an educational travel company whose mission is to “Create a healthier and more sustainable planet through eco-centered travel,” organized the adventure, and travel dates and destinations for summer 2016 will be announced soon.
One of the last memories students and faculty have of the EDS playground likely contains bulldozers, hard hats, and mounds of dirt. MY HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED!! Thanks to an efficient schedule, good weather, and lots of hard work by RW Allen’s crew, the EDS playground has transformed into a showcase for the school and church.
The beautiful artificial turf field, colorful fall zones under play equipment on the Barton Playground, and first class basketball goals are some of the most striking transformations. However, meticulous attention to drainage and landscaping are details that make the new spaces stunning. Hundreds of new shrubs, trees, ornamental grasses, and sod were planted this summer, and the summer administrative staff has enjoyed showing off progress to campus visitors (all of whom are duly impressed).
The last large piece to fall into place is the synthetic surface on the Barfield Courts, which is due to be poured the week of July 19th. Once that is down and the courts are striped for basketball, volleyball, and four square, the playground will officially be complete.
Anticipating students’ reactions to their new play space and outdoor dining area makes the upcoming school year even more exciting, and just one of several transformational elements awaiting them upon their return! See you in August…