This week, UE visited the Innovation Barn, part of Envision Charlotte. We learned about their mission to encourage innovation and improve sustainability in our area by creating a circular economy, with the goal of making Charlotte a zero-waste city. As we toured the facility, it was amazing to get a lesson in their aquaponics lab where they use tilapia to grow lettuces and herbs sold in the community. It was a wonderful connection to our system at DGS. We observed black soldier fly composting efforts and learn about the experiments they are doing to capture the larvae to feed the tilapia. Our students observed one of the tenants at the barn called The Bulb. They do food rescue in Charlotte and get produce to people. Food that is considered unsellable or ugly is gathered to be distributed to food desert areas in our community on a pay what you can basis. The most memorable part for most of the kids was preparing our own lunch of salad and Philly, Not Really mushroom "cheesesteaks". The kids cut their own veggies and sauteed them in the barn's zero-waste kitchen. Keep your eyes out for a special plastics recycling program UE will start soon.
Did you know, a Charlotte student and Girl Scout created an interactive map called The Lost Slavery Tour? It's an 18-stop walking Uptown tour that teaches about slaves who lived and worked in Charlotte. UE will take a field trip in October and walk the tour. This week, each student read and prepared pages for one or two stops on the tour that we will collect and use as a guide for our trip.
UE observed geometry connections to our beehive. Hexagons are the bees' shape of choice in the hive. We learned why and then tried, and tried again...to make a human hexagon with six equal sides and angles. As an observer, it was fascinating to see them collaborate. They worked through their frustrations and celebrated their success. Students emerged with ideas, as listeners and leaders.
This week I brought in Tibetan prayer flags. These non-religious flags promote the mantras of peace, compassion, strength and wisdom. As the flags hang high on our deck outside, the good wishes are blown by the wind into our community and as the flags fade from exposure to nature, the prayers they carry become a permanent part of the universe.