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  • Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Community , REAL Supporters

    In my role at REAL School Gardens, I'm not out in the field as often as my colleagues. But over the past week, I've gotten to spend some time away from the computer screen preparing for our Fling-A-Thing event to celebrate North Texas Giving Day. Most people probably wouldn't consider collecting manure samples to be joyful, engaging, soul-filling work. But that's exactly what it was for me, and it reminded me of why we work so hard to get students outdoors and learning.

    When I was standing on the prairie at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge surrounded ...

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  • Sunday, July 13, 2014 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Instructional Aids , Science

    Learning gardens are ideally suited for developing the critical thinking skills and foundations of understanding for the disciplines of math, science and language arts. The inquiry based learning methods facilitated in the outdoor laboratory/outdoor classroom reaches across the curriculum by virtue of the inter-related nested and natural systems of the earth. When students’ are in the outdoor classroom they learn firsthand that natural systems are composed of cycles, processes and structures that interact and are driven by a flow of energy through them; the students‘ learn about these systems through sensory observations. Empirical learning through hands on science and math investigation creates transformative experiences which guide the students’ learning in ...

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  • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Science


     Who knew that the physical properties and components of soil would be so all encompassing. This 1st grade student takes to the wonders of soil while viewing it through a loupe magnifier. She is learning to determine that soil particles have size, texture and color, and discovers soil is nonliving but has living components. In the outdoor classroom a student can observe, compare and describe the attributes of the medium they manipulate


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  • Friday, December 20, 2013 | Filed under Volunteering , Environmental Stewardship , Educators , Community , REAL Teacher Journal , REAL Supporters

    At our most recent Holiday Christmas lunch at a local sweet salad spot,  The REAL School staff gathered around a wooden, from the trees, table each having a box with a word inside.  The task was to open and share what the word meant in your life both in the past and the future. Venezuela - Change - Matt - Gratitude - Ellen - Commitment- Scott - Compassion - Sarah - Health - V - Sacrifice - D.J. Moe - Inspire - Shawn - Courage -  J Cross - Adventure - LeCompost - Happiness  


    The words were randomly ...

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  • Wednesday, September 18, 2013 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , School Garden Design , Community

    Features to spark curiosity and encourage exploration

     A child’s natural curiosity is sparked just by being outdoors. Watching a plant grow from seed or a butterfly emerge from its cocoon are experiences that impact children for a lifetime. Features can be added or additional materials can be used to encourage a sense of wonder and exploration. This could include:


       Water and/or sand features

       Areas for digging

       Natural exploration spaces (e.g., rocks to look under, logs to sit on)

       Block or natural building areas using loose parts (e.g., twigs, limbs, cut ...

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  • Tuesday, May 21, 2013 | Filed under Engineering , Environmental Stewardship , School Garden Installation , Community


    They are smiling because the water conserving drip system has been engineered and installed at Burton Hill Elementary School in Fort Worth, TX on Friday, May 10 with the most expert guidance and assistance from them; and they are Debbie Key and Bill Vandever, Tarrant County Master Gardeners extraordinaire. They’re happy that 200 + folks from the community at large, specifically volunteers from Mercedes Benz Corporation, parents, teachers and students have completed another REAL School Garden for instructing and facilitating knowledge through nature in context with the real world.

    People like these folks (Debbie and Bill) volunteer their time ...

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  • Tuesday, February 19, 2013 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Community , Family Activities , Science

    Most people probably remember learning about butterflies early in their elementary careers. I remember lessons about butterfly metamorphosis and our teacher purchasing a butterfly habitat for the classroom, but there is one mystery about butterflies that still fascinates students, researchers, and teachers through the years. The Monarch Migration takes place every year during the spring and fall when millions of monarch butterflies make their way from Canada to Mexico and back again. This magnificent spectacle has caught the eye of many onlookers, and recently of IMAX filmmakers.


    Flight of the Butterflies is a compelling and awe-inspiring 3D film that ...

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  • Tuesday, January 29, 2013 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Community

    I grew up in the Great Basin, where California, Oregon, and Nevada might as well be the same place, on 318 acres of organic pastures that were seasonally filled with either munching dairy heifers or four feet of snow. On our “small” working pasture ranch in Oregon, my family grows organic grass for hay and to run organic cattle in the summer months. I grew up in the cowboy way of life. It’s still strange to describe my childhood and my lifestyle and then realize that it’s a concept that is completely foreign to most people. Many of them stare ...

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  • Wednesday, January 9, 2013 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Community , Family Activities

    It may be January, but we're ready to get growing! Check out these 5 projects to prep for springtime, in the garden or inside!

    1) If you're bundled up inside with no interest in venturing out to garden just yet, why not make yourself an indoor tabletop water garden? Helpful instructions and tips from Megan of radmegan: in words and pictures to get this project underway:


    2) Upcycle those broken tools in the shed and revamp them into a trellis for climbing vines:

     Photo credit: Better Homes and Gardens

    3) Do the dirty work of prepping your soil for spring. ...

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  • Tuesday, December 4, 2012 | Filed under Environmental Stewardship , Community

    What do REAL School Gardens, a New York City juice bar, a fisherman, and a mountain climber have in common? What may sound like the beginning of a bad joke is actually an international non-profit agency giving millions every year in the name of the environment. RSG recently received funding through 1% For The Planet, an organization with the mission to “build and support an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet.”

    By encouraging businesses to donate 1% of their sales to environmental non-profits, 1% For the Planet not only gets businesses to take a more ...

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