This fall, Oaks Plus was excited to bring back an exciting opportunity that took a year off due to COVID – after school clubs. Along with the returning clubs came a new initiative called Outdoor Education Club. Offered at both campuses and themed differently for each season, the winter session of Outdoor Ed focused on conservation efforts like recycling and rescuing food that might otherwise be wasted.
“Tell me about a tree you love,” Miss McMichael asked, and the room was full of stories of climbing and sweet fruit. The club talked about the gifts of Creation and the ways we steward those gifts by being wise with what we use. While paper can be (and usually is) made from trees, it can also be made from old paper. For the remaining club time, students pulled sheets from a vat of paper-slurry and pressed them flat between boards and towels. The pulpy paper-slurry was “satisfying” or “terrifying” (due to sliminess) depending on who you asked, but the dried confetti-speckled paper received the following week was the reward for a job well done.
The Conservation Club scientists conducted an array of experiments upon their resident worms, observing their affinity for water, aversion to light, and general friendliness toward one another. They also determined that worms are ticklish if you have the right feather! These unlikely friends are part of a larger experiment in loving our neighbors: as the worms turn banana peels into garden soil, students made signs to divert uneaten lunch food from the trash can. This food will be donated to Westminster Neighborhood Services, feeding hungry people near our school and helping us practice the good and beautiful habit of generosity.
Overall, students in the Conservation Clubs learned to see beauty and potential in unlikely places. Starting out one day like mad scientists, the club brewed homemade soda from fruit juice and ginger-based yeast. Students made paper and turned old crayon pieces into new shapes and coloring tools. These items were then fashioned into signs and collages made with clippings from old magazines and foil. Lastly, they spent time with the worms — the squirmy, ticklish creatures who were transforming cafeteria food waste into fertile soil. “Abundance is all around us, when we have eyes to see.” shared Miss McMichael.
While students are immersed in learning about the outdoors year-round with integrated nature studies in class, the Outdoor Education Clubs help students dive deeper into understanding and loving the world around them. The spring session of Outdoor Education club will start on March 8th with the theme of Gardening – planning, planting and tending school gardens as well as rainy day activities like cooking and making art from reclaimed materials. Oaks Academy families can learn more and sign up by visiting our clubs page today!
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