Glen Ellen Telegram
Spring!! Well, not quite… but we are seeing such lush green growth already, from our very wet and rather mild winter, that clearly it is on our not-so-distant horizon. Daffodils and mustard, those glorious yellows of February, are popping up and it feels fresh and alive, doesn’t it? And in that spirit, let’s kick off with talk about growing…
Good things in the gardenJump-started by a sizeable anonymous donation, Dunbar School’s PTO has been fundraising for more than a year for infrastructure improvements to their teaching garden (which is an impressive of an acre). To date, more than $7,000 has been raised and will go toward a classroom “pad” (complete with tables, shade, and the ability to host cooking demos or use counter space for culinary prep), a large teaching greenhouse, an outdoor art installation area, a native plants section, and a bee and butterfly area. The tradition of instructing students in an outdoor setting has been ongoing for nearly 30 years at the school.
Today, all grades have garden lessons once a week, weather permitting. Garden teacher (and coordinator) Alissa Pearce prepares and facilitates the age/grade-appropriate lessons that span topics from botanical science to weather to art to nutrition. Most of the lessons are multi-disciplinary and everything is hands-on. For example, in November, students prepared the raised beds and seeded out fava beans. This was prefaced by discussions about why we plant these (they taste good, they feed the soil, etc.) and what to expect during the life cycle of the cover crop. Eventually the fava plants lead into discussions of animals as they predictably become infested with aphids and subsequently with the ladybugs who feed on the aphids.
This early spring occurrence is the perfect observational study of life cycles and food webs in agricultural systems. Clearly the lessons go far beyond just getting hands dirty or picking a cherry tomato. Many Dunbar alumni have subsequently gone on to excel in the study of horticulture at Altimira and eventually into the Ag program at Sonoma Valley High. Alissa is most looking forward to both the installation of the greenhouse (where seed starting lessons can take place, and small, short or long-term experiments can be set up as part of garden time or in conjunction with the hands-on science program) and the outdoor classroom area with kitchen space (appropriate for demonstrations and the further incorporation of lessons involving farm to table food production).
Friends of Dunbar School PTO (FODSPTO) would like to thank Sonoma Valley Education Foundation (who just donated $1,000 to help in the purchase of consumable supplies), Sonoma Valley Unified School District (for providing annual stipends of $1,800 for school garden coordinators), and Lynn Grundman, MaryAnn Carr, Beltane Ranch, the Glen Ellen Village Fair Association, and the Glen Ellen Fire Department for very generous infrastructure improvement donations. They would also like to deeply thank the Lasseter Family Winery and Scott Anderson who together recently accomplished a major brush/weed and debris removal from the garden space. FODSPTO fundraises to keep garden teaching alive and part of the curriculum at the school. Annually, that requires about $9,000 and this amount covers both facilitation and curriculum development by the garden teacher. Donations are always welcome and can be earmarked directly to this program. Please make checks out and send to Friends of Dunbar School PTO, 11700 Dunbar Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442.
Another great way to give back is to participate in the Spring Garden Anniversary Party/Work Day. Roll up your sleeves and come out to the garden. Save the Date for this year: Saturday, April 15, 10 a.m.-noon. (Note: this event directly follows the annual Easter Egg Hunt put on by the Glen Ellen Fire Department – more on that later.)
The fair gives back
As is the case each January, the Glen Ellen Village Fair Association has now disbursed donations to the beneficiaries of the 2016 fair proceeds. Each year, monies from the raffle are donated to several community groups (note: they are required to disburse 90 percent, and typically disburse 100 percent). Here is the tally for 2016: Glen Ellen Firefighter’s Association ($500), Friends of Dunbar School PTO ($250), Mayacamas Volunteer Fire Department ($150), Glen Ellen Historical Society ($100), Rotary Club of Glen Ellen/Kenwood ($100), Transcendence Theatre Company ($50), and Sonoma Developmental Center ($50). The association would like you to know that the last two on this list provided equipment and/or logistical assistance for the day of the fair and these donations are just a small token of appreciation for their community involvement. The broader fair committee will begin meeting soon, so look for details on Fair 2017 to come!
The buzz from around the bendThe next Glen Ellen Forum town meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Dunbar Elementary School. This meeting is open to all Glen Ellen community members (business and residential.) Please spread the word. If you have questions about these meetings or the process that is underway, please email firstname.lastname@example.org… Glen Ellen Village Market is now offering secret specials on Tuesdays. The special announcements come through your email; inquire about signing up at the market… Many of your friends and neighbors are connecting through the free app called Next Door. You can select Glen Ellen/Warm Springs or link yourself into a broader community. It is very easy to use from your cell phone, laptop, or tablet… Horatius coffee house and wine bar is on a winter break and will reopen sometime in February... The Fig Café announces Pop-up special Tuesday night dinners on the following dates: Feb. 14, 21, and 28, and March 7. These meals are by reservation only (through Eventbrite) and range in price from $55 to $70 (multi-course meals/dessert and wine/sake pairing included). Check out their website for additional details: www.thefigcafe.com.
As always, if you have any Glen Ellen-related news to announce, please email email@example.com or call 996-3352.
Do you have any Glen Ellen stories to share? Milestones? Celebrations? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 996-3352.