Zephyr Cove Elementary School sixth-graders are cultivating green thumbs, but instead of working outside in the dirt, they’re planting greens on an indoor, floating garden.
The students crowded around their hydroponic garden Tuesday where a small crop of vibrant, leafy lettuce grew above a tank of water. The class started the project about five weeks ago and plan to harvest the greens Friday for a school potluck, sixth-grade teacher Dr. Amy Hope said.
Hope attended a hydroponic training conference last year as part of the Desert Research Institute’s GreenPower program that promotes awareness of climate and environmental topics in Nevada schools. Hope thought that starting a hydroponic garden — imagine a Styrofoam float that holds the plants and sits above a 30-gallon reservoir of water — at ZCES would be a good way to bring hands-on learning to the classroom and show the children how to grow their own gardens. This year, her classroom includes a fully-functioning horticulture system that her students alternate taking care of.
“The kids have learned about checking pH. There’s a lot of science involved in keeping this running,” she said. “They’re gardeners. They want to tend this all day long.”
Eventually Hope said she wants the floating gardens to take root in the other classrooms. The greens might even supplement school lunches in the near future and there’s been talk of devoting a whole room to gardening, she said. After harvesting the lettuce, the class will grow strawberries, tomatoes and herbs, according to Hope.
It’s an easy system for the children to manage, House & Garden Nutrients Representative Nick Wester said. The fertilizer company donated the materials for the hydroponic system and Wester led a presentation about caring for the garden. The students check the water’s pH and perform a nutrient exchange every week, while the plants, the water and the lights take care of the rest.
“It’s an awesome way to educate the children about having fresh veggies in their home. In this mountain town, we don’t have a very good season for growing,” Wester said. “I believe with the advent of renewable resources, indoor horticulture can feed the world.”
As easy as the hydroponic system is to manage, ZCES’s aquaponic tank is even easier. Based on the same concept as the floating garden, the aquaponic tank is a self-sustaining system where plants and fish support one another in a symbiotic relationship. Other than cleaning the tank and scooping out the occasional dead fish, the students let the plants grow on their own, albeit slower than in the hydroponic reservoir.
Sixth-grade fish master Sterling Manchester peered into the tank Tuesday. The largest fish — the one that looks like a shark, according to Manchester — bears his name partly because of all the work Manchester puts into the project. The fish are the first thing he looks at in the morning, he said.
“I like this one because the fish circulate the water,” Manchester said. “I’ll make sure they’re fed, and if not, I’ll feed them.”
In other news
Two Way Immersion application deadline this Friday
The deadline to apply for Bijou Community School’s Two Way Immersion program is this Friday.
There is a mandatory information meeting at 6 p.m. on March 20 at Bijou. The incoming kindergarten class lottery will take place March 21. For more information, call 530-543-2337 or visit www.tahoetwowayimmersion.com and www.bijouschool.org.
South Lake Tahoe’s Two Way Immersion program combines an equal number of Spanish- and English-speaking students in one classroom and provides lessons in both languages. The program usually starts in kindergarten and continues through fifth or eighth grade.
STHS presents Michael Frayn’s “Noises Off”
South Tahoe High School’s version of the play “Noises Off” will take place March 22-23 and 28-30 at 7 p.m. There will also by a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee on March 24. General seating costs $15.
“Noises Off” is a modern English farce with multiple doors and multiple mishaps. It is a fast paced romp where the audience not only gets to see the action from the audiences point of view, but gets to glimpse the show from backstage where the frenetic energy gets out of control, according to STHS Artistic Director Nannette “Niv” Niven.
The high school is located at 1735 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe.
STHS freshman orientation to take place
There will be a freshman orientation session Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m. for the parents of current eighth-graders.
Then informational meeting will take place in the South Tahoe High School student union located at 1735 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe.
LTCC Writers’ Series celebrates National Poetry Month
The Lake Tahoe Community College will celebrate National Poetry Month Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m. in the LTCC library.
Three award winning poets will read from their works, engage with the audience during a Q&A and sign books. The event is free and open to the community. For more information contact Suzanne Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteer accountant needed for Edgewood Golf Tournament
A volunteer bookkeeper/accountant is needed for the annual Edgewood Golf Tournament that helps support South Shore schools.
For details, call Pam Jimenez at 775-901-1003.
The 26th annual Booster Club Golf Tournament is set for May 4-5.
Education updates and announcements can be emailed to email@example.com.
“They’re gardeners. They want to tend this all day long.”
Dr. Amy Hope