The Grapevine

Woodinville Montessori School Weekly Newsletter, Nov. 16, 2016

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Students become teachers on Student Teaching Night, Nov. 18

Students become teachers on Student Teaching Night, this Friday, Nov. 18. All parents of Early Childhood through Secondary students are invited to come and see teaching and learning from your child's perspective and experience the engagement, pride and confidence of a Montessori student in action. This year Elementary and Secondary students will give math lessons, while Early Childhood students lead their parents through some of their favorite work. This is a very special evening for both children and parents alike. The presentation times are staggered throughout the early evening. Check with your child's teacher for your specific time.

Aquaponics demonstration lab offers lots of learning

Sustainability, science and nutrition learning—just a few of the many possible benefits to WMS students now that we host an Aquaponix Living Garden Laboratory (ALGL). Thom Walker, founder of Northwest Aquaponix, which sponsors our ALGL, sought a spot to set up a demonstration project, and WMS offered an empty lab in Building 2 at North Creek. Thom wants to see such projects in all schools as examples of sustainable, low-impact food production. A long-term goal is to build large greenhouses in Woodinville that use aquaponics for food production.

Now WMS is developing ways to integrate the ALGL into the curriculum.

“For now, younger students will plant seeds on a staggered basis to provide the plants needed for the growing beds,” says Head of School Mary Schneider. “We would like to get rainbarrel water collection started at North Creek to provide the water for the fish. We will be creating worm bins to provide the growing medium for seeds, and students will maintain them.”

Older students will learn how to monitor water quality and adjust as needed, and they will learn about the chemical and hydrologic cycles involved in aquaponics. Eventually they will be able to help with food and fish harvesting.

The system features a tank of male tilapia, which our students will feed. The students will plant seeds in a mixture of vermiculite and compost to root before the plugs are transplanted into openings in rafts. The fish waste water flows through pipes into tables where the rafts of vegetables float. The plant roots take up the nutrients from the water, filtering it; then the water returns through pipes to the fish tank. You can watch a video about aquaponics here.

Last Thursday, several Elementary students planted the first vegetables, lettuce seeds, and fed the fish (in photo). WMS could also grow tomatoes, cucumber and broccoli.

Thom is seeking volunteers from among our families for tasks such as daily monitoring of water quality and making adjustments. You may sign up through our volunteer portal.

Northwest Aquaponix will gladly accept contributions from the community to help offset implementation and maintenance costs. Please visit this link if you would like to donate to Northwest Aquaponix for the demonstration project at WMS. Northwest Aquaponix, a nonprofit organization, will send a receipt acknowledging your donation.

Seeking a few more basketball players

We almost have enough players signed up to participate in the YMCA basketball league this winter. Since we're so close, Athletics Director Theresa Kirby has extended the registration through Friday, Nov. 18.

As part of the YMCA league, our teams will play games on Saturdays from January through March. The Y league is divided into girls teams for grades 4-6 (Wednesday practices); boys teams for grades 5-6 and 7-9 (Monday practices.) Practices will be held from Nov. 28-March 6.

Register at CampBrain. The fee of $185 includes a WMS Athletics shirt. For more information, contact Athletics Director Theresa Kirby.

WMS to receive solar donation through Solarize Woodinville project

Woodinville Montessori School will receive a donated solar electric system to generate renewable energy for the school through the Solarize Woodinville campaign. The system is donated by the campaign's community-selected installer, Puget Sound Solar, and Bellingham-based solar panel manufacturer Itek Energy.

“Puget Sound Solar is excited for this opportunity to promote solar education,” says Pam Burton, co-owner of Puget Sound Solar. “The Woodinville community was great to work with; so many people were interested in solar and other ways to reduce fossil-fuel consumption. We are very pleased to be able to present the community with this educational solar system.”

The donated solar system serves as a community award for participation in Solarize Woodinville, a project of the Seattle nonprofit Northwest SEED designed to accelerate solar energy installations through a group purchase of solar electric systems at a discounted price.

WMS students will use the solar installation to learn about science, sustainability, journalism and even art. The school plans to purchase a monitoring system to allow students to track and analyze energy production.

“Woodinville Montessori School is delighted to be the recipient of this solar donation through the Solarize Woodinville campaign,” says Head of School Mary Schneider. “Through first-hand experience with solar energy production, students will learn about the beauty and simplicity of clean, free energy from the sun. One day, our students will no longer perceive solar energy as 'alternative' but rather as a normal means of obtaining energy. Care for the environment and the need to take action in support of it are tenets of Montessori education.”

In addition to facilitating the donation, the Solarize Woodinville campaign educated 159 Woodinville residents about solar at four public workshops, and helped seven residents install solar. The new installations total 54.9 kilowatts of new solar capacity, saving approximately 27 tons of carbon emissions annually. Northwest SEED also worked with the City of Woodinville to remove an unnecessary permitting requirement, saving residents $500-$2000 on every future solar installation and reducing the timeline to install solar.

“The new solar installations will help Woodinville residents build resilience and reduce their environmental footprint,” says Jill Eikenhorst, project coordinator with Northwest SEED. “Solar is a great complement to Washington's hydroelectric power, especially as climate change affects summer power supply and PSE phases out coal plants.”

The Solarize Woodinville participants join the Solarize Northwest movement. Since launching in 2012, the program has educated 4,359 people and helped 948 families and businesses install solar, totaling 4.8 megawatts of clean energy in the region. Northwest SEED estimates the program has supported 29 jobs annually in working with 14 local solar installers.

Northwest SEED partnered with local nonprofit 21 Acres and a dozen local volunteers to organize and publicize the Solarize Woodinville campaign, and the Sustainable Path Foundation funded the effort.

“One side benefit of the project was the connection made between local residents,” Eikenhorst said, “At the celebration event, I heard our volunteers and partners already talking about the next sustainability projects they want to do.”

Registration for Solarize Woodinville is now closed and no more workshops are scheduled. Homeowners and business owners can still visit to find resources on going solar, including a list of solar installers selected by Solarize communities so far.