Alice Waters Visits Echo Canyon School
On Tuesday March 26th, Echo Canyon School was humbled to host Chef Alice Waters as an honored guest at our school. Alice Waters is the owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, founder of the Edible Schoolyard Project and renowned activist advocating for school lunches and teaching students the values of nourishment, stewardship and community.
Echo Canyon was proud to show Ms. Waters our gardens and the garden connections we make to create valuable learning opportunities for our students. Our goal was to highlight a cross section of the variety of activities our students engage in throughout the year.
- Hayhurst’s first grade class represented our Pre-K/Kindergarten/First Grade loop by participating in a ladybug and worm release in their vertical hanging gardens. This activity connects to our lower elementary Arizona science standards.
- Harper’s class represented our second grade by participating in a Chef in the Garden activity, hosted by Chef and Echo Canyon parent Chris Mendoza and Chef Doug Robson. Our second graders read the book Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola. The story is about a magic pasta pot that creates too much pasta that almost floods and buries a town! Our students had the chance to make a pasta dish with a delightful tomato sauce and salad made from ingredients harvested from our gardens.
- Espinosa and Mrs. Abbott’s third grade classes and Miss Gation’s sixth grade class showed off their science journaling skills in our Sonoran Desert Tortoise Habitat and our Monarch Waystation. Our nature journaling activity is the result of our new partnerships with ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and School of Sustainability and Innovation. Our tortoise even came out of hibernation for our big day!
- McMullin’s fourth grade class represented our fourth and fifth grade loop by participating in a Chef in the Garden activity hosted by Chef and Echo Canyon parent Tamara Stanger and Farmer John Naughton. Students learned about native edible plants in Arizona. Our fourth graders study Arizona history and geography in Social Studies, and learning about heirloom agriculture helps make history come alive!
- Chasse’s sixth grade class represented our middle school by participating in a Chef in the Garden experience with Seafood Purveyor Chris Newman, Chef Jason Raducha and Chef Tuan “Butch” Raphel. Our students learned about octopus and seafood sustainability, which is part of their ecosystem life-science state standards. Our students were brave enough to try the octopus salad that was served with country bread!
- Our downstairs classes participated by creating artistic window and door displays to help decorate our school for Ms. Waters’ visit and share our creative talents! The tour group greatly enjoyed these displays as it walked from station to station.
The tour group with Alice Waters included Angela McKee-Brown, Director of Education for the Edible Schoolyard Project, and Kathleen Merrigan, Executive Director of the Swette Center for Sustainable Systems at Arizona State University and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, in addition to representatives from ASU’s School of Sustainability and Innovation.
A special thanks to our garden leaders, Lou and Ann Rodarte! Without them, none of this would have been possible. We thank them for their tireless effort and dedication to creating and maintaining our beautiful school gardens, making connections with local chefs and helping foster connections for Echo Canyon School all over the state of Arizona! We also need to thank FnB Chef/owner Charleen Badman, our Echo Canyon PTO, our parent volunteers and the Blue Watermelon Project!
Echo Canyon School invites all community members to join us for garden tours the first Saturday of each month at 9 am. Our next garden tours are scheduled for April 6 and May 4. We also offer tours for prospective students and families every Tuesday at 9 am or by appointment.