Friday, October 18, 2013

Jr Ranger Program has begun!

EcoThink is partnering with the Tryon Creek Rangers to offer a unique program where our students can earn a Jr. Ranger Badge by attending and participating in six EcoThink Club sessions.  The kids will discover nature secrets, identify native and invasive plants, learn how to be safe when you are exploring, and participate in events to clean and protect our school campus and local parks.

This week the students conducted research and created clues for several of our local wildlife.  Here are some of their 'Nature's Secrets':

1. I eat disgusting stuff
2. I am slimy
3. I am slow
4. I am small and yellow
5. I hate salt
    I am a   _ _ _ _ _ _     _ _ _ _ .

1. I eat earthworms and amphibians
2. I am black with yellow stripes
3. I am long and skinny and look like a rope
4. I can be found in most parks, forests, and in the grass
5. I am scared of people
6. I don't have legs
    I am a  _ _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ .

1. I can grow to around 5 inches long
2. I eat arthropods
3. I am black and red and look slimy
4. I live where it is moist in the forest
5. I don't have lungs
    I am a   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

1. I eat insects and sometimes fruit
2. I live in the forest where there are dead trees
3. I raise my babies in the dead trees
4. I have a black throat and red patch on my head
5. I am a type of woodpecker
    I am a   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

1. I live up to 20 years
2. I eat rats
3. I am an endangered species
4. I have a round face
5. I have yellow eyes
6. I can fly
    I am a  _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ .

1. I live in a lot of places
2. I have a high sense of touch
3. I eat crayfish, rodents, frogs, and bird eggs
4. Large hawks can eat me
5. I have night vision
    I am a  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ .

 If you missed the meeting but would like to earn the Jr. Ranger Badge, please complete this month's activity (Jr Ranger activity - Nature Secrets.pdf) with your family and bring it to the next session in December.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Wonder Tree is now online!

The Rieke Elementary School student have a lot of questions as they explore, interact, and learn about the world around them. When they have a wonder, they can submit it to the Wonder Tree at school and earn a bud with their name on it. These questions are then added to the Wonder Wall for students to pick and conduct research to try to find an answer to the question. When they return their research sheet, they earn a leaf for the tree.  Click here to find a question that interests you, search for the answer with your parent, and submit your research either at school or on the website.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Welcome to the 2013-14 school year!

We had our first club meeting on September and welcomed the new school year by brainstorming some eco-goals together:
  Plant more trees
  No more ocean pollution
  No littering
  Eat better food
  Plant more flowers
  Make sure to recycle
Our activity for the session was to learn about what plants need to grow and then to make a 'Plant Person' for them to care for.  We used nylons, grass seed, and soil to make our plant head.  Each student chose an eco-goal that was important to them and wrote it on the watering base for their plant person.  All they needed was water, sun, and time!

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Rieke Outdoor Classroom 

- Before and After

Special thanks to our sponsors:

SW Neighborhood Inc
West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
Wells Fargo
Portland Parks and Recreation
PGE and Clackamas Community College
Food Front
Brandon Bonas, A.I.A 
Henderson Family
Missio Church
Holt Woodworking
Holst Architecture
Hillsdale Starbucks
Columbia Land Trust
Tigard Sand and Gravel
Woolly Pockets
and the Rieke Community!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A weed is a plant out of place 

What is a weed? The students came up with several very interesting definitions: 
   something that is not pretty 
   a plant that you didn't put there 
   a plant that just goes crazy if you leave it there 
   something that needs a new home 

We  discussed how some plant that we consider weeds may be useful in other ways - dandelion salads, stinging nettle tea, clover for soil enrichments. But in most cases, weeds are outcompeting the garden plants for water, nutrients, sunlight, and space.   

The club members were given a tour of the parking lot garden at the school and were quick to pick out what should be there and what shouldn't. They then helped 'save' the spring buds by removing bindweed, dandelions, and thistle from the garden. Their favorite was the 'wild grass' since it was easy to pull up and was a perfect example of 'a weed is a plant out of place' - grass in the lawn = ok, grass in the flower garden = not ok.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Outdoor Classroom is almost ready!

Make sure to sign up to help us reach the final phase of the Outdoor Classroom.  We will have work parties on April 20 and 27 to install the seating logs and ADA gravel path.

Outdoor Classroom work parties sign up