Our ninth grade class is new to the world of blogging, yet excited about the myriad streams of conversation that seem to naturally flow from a meeting of inquisitive minds. We are known as the “Green Team,” and our blog is entitled “Green Stream” because one of our goals this school year is to take a closer look at our natural environment. In biology, geography, mathematics and language arts, we are exploring our local watershed through a variety of activities that include water sampling, measuring stream flow, calculating the area of the watershed, examining the effects of pollution and drought, photography, environmental art, nature observation and more. Hopefully, we are learning what it means when we say, “We all live downstream.”
At the beginning of the year, all of our students took a multiple intelligence test to help determine their areas of strength and talent. The vast majority scored the lowest in “natural intelligence.” It was already pretty obvious that most had very little affinity to nature. When we made our escapades down to the creek behind the school, there was ample complaining to be heard about bugs and shoes getting dirty and allergies, but just recently, I have begun to hear exclamations like, “When can we go down to the watershed?” and “I’m going through watershed withdrawal! Can we please go to the creek?” Little by little, students are becoming enthused by the changing color of leaves, how a salamander is seemingly frozen on a branch as it waits for the sunshine to energize its cells, the reflections of light on the water, and how the ever-changing rhythm and pattern of water can serve as a metaphor for music. Some students have taken their musical instruments down to the creek to improvise and compose while others seek to find creative ways to express themselves. One student constructed a large “web” with fishing line supported by two tree branches. All of us seem to be enjoying ourselves as we search for ways to cultivate a relationship with the natural world.