"It's how we used to learn," says Scott McClintock, science teacher and board member of the Experiential Education Exchange of St. Louis. "You experience something, reflect on it - learn from it - and incorporate it into your life skills."
Scott expands this modest summary in an Earthworms conversation that covers outdoor trips, building school gardens, digging up the cow that died on the school farm last year - and how real-life experiences (and topics like climate change or tolerance) are growing human minds and hearts while also teaching necessary math and reading. Not your straight-line test-score old-school blues song.
Leaders and partners of the EEE have collaborated since 2013 to help teachers, students, parents and school administrators get access to Experiential know-how, grounding St. Louis in an international education movement. A free Spring Event on March 29 and the annual conference on April 29 of the Experiential Education Exchange are opportunities to build skills and relationships in a learning mode where connecting to nature and becoming fully human headline the curriculum.
Learn (a lot!) more at www.eeestl.org
Music: Magic 9, performed at KDHX by Infamous Stringdusters
THANKS to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer
Related Earthworms Conversations: The Big Book of Nature Activities (June 28, 2016)
They may nest in a tree stump, or holes in the ground, or pull nest fibers from the stalks of your dried-up native plants. Wherever they can make a home, you will find them fascinating, useful guests. Earthworms guest Heather Holm - a landscape designer, author and native plant expert - LOVES to introduce humans to them!
They are Native Bees - species of insects that pollinate many kinds of plants. They are very different from familiar honeybees (introduced here from Europe) which live in huge colonies of thousands of bees. Our native bees are usually solitary, visible only during their brief adult lives, when their determined purpose is to build an out-of-the-way nest, provision it with "bee bread" made from flower pollen, lay eggs, seal their nest up - and die. Next year, new native bees will hatch from those obscure places and re-start the cycle of reproduction and pollination.
Heather Holm now works, researches, writes and speaks from her Minnesota home in the Twin Cities. She hails from the University of Ontario, Guelph, where another recent Earthworms guest brought us intel about honeybees. She visited St. Louis in early March, as keynote speaker for the Partners for Native Landscaping workshop, where she kindled many fires of interest in gardening to attract and observe native bees - including with Earthworms host Jean Ponzi!
Music: Divertimento K 131, performed by Kevin McLeod
Thanks to Andy Heaslet, Earthworms engineer.
Related Earthworms Conversations: Bees and People (January 2017)
In Earthworms' experience, when people want to do something Green they think recycling - or solar panels! But what makes solar tick? What are your options? How is solar evolving, in efficiency, affordability, and influence in the "energy space?"
Paul McKnight, owner of St. Louis-based EFS Energy, has made solar his business since 2011. He's weathered solar's ups/downs - and continues to be excited by innovations in power storage, renewable energy financing - and more.
Music: Giant Steps, Dave Stone
THANKS to Andy Heaslet, intrepid engineer
Related Earthworms' Conversations: PACE Financing (January 2017)
How can you not love a tiny, gorgeous creature that flies from Mexico to Canada to keep its species on the Earth? Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) are one of our most iconic nature-kin. They need our help - and we can give it to them, beautifully.
Dr. Orly R. "Chip" Taylor has championed Monarchs since the early 1990s. His studies through University of Kansas-Lawrence have documented a drastic decline (over 90%) of Monarch populations along their North American migratory flyway, and his advocacy - as founder of Monarch Watch, Monarch Waystation and Milkweed Market - continues to mobilize citizen science and gardening support to restore habitat needed to preserve this species.
Chip Taylor will keynote the second annual Grow Native! workshop in Edwardsville, IL on Friday, March 10. This is an opportunity to hear one of nature's Green Giants, learn how YOU can contribute to the health of Monarch and other native critter populations through Native Plant landscaping - and you can GET PLANTS!
Don't let this spring pass without digging into the Native Plant movement. Opportunities abound! You - and Monarchs - will benefit, beautifully.
Music: Artifact, Kevin MacLeod
THANKS to Andy Heasley, Earthworms engineer - and to Andy Coco.
Related Earthworms Conversations:
Native Plants: Growing a Joint Venture with Nature (February 2017)