Exploring the Effects of Climate Change

BY AMANDA MOSES

For the past few weeks, spring has flittered in and out of focus within the metropolitan area. On warms days plants have attempted to bloom, but the onslaught of snowstorms have many of our spring flowers frozen in a state between bud and blossom. In light of the fluctuating weather, Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman has her students documenting the vast changes within the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC).

Last week, third graders in PS 346 unleashed their inquisitive minds and their sharp observation skills while exploring the UGC. With the guidance of Roytman, these students used their four senses (they will wait to use their fifth sense, which is the sense of taste after their first spring harvest) and binoculars to observe the garden.

The first observation the class made with Roytman was using their sense of hearing to determine what sorts of birds were around. There were loud squawks from a flock of crows sitting upon the tree branches, the nasal honks of Brant Geese as they searched the lawns of Spring Creek Towers (SCT) for food,and the faint sound of a song bird’s chirps.

“We used our senses of sound and sight to hear and see the birds around the garden. I liked that we were able to use binoculars to see the birds sitting high up in the trees and the other birds plucking worms out of the grass,” said Genevieve Poteat.

The children also employed their sense of touch by feeling how coarse the soil has become because of the frequent snowstorms. “It’s almost as if the soil has cracks in it, like what you see in concrete,” said Poteat.

Many of the students pretended to be scientists caught in the wilderness of the garden, and their observations were important discoveries in what makes the garden an amazing ecosystem of plants and insects. “I used the binoculars to see birds from afar, and even to get a real close look at the soil in the garden beds and under rocks to see the insects,” said Menelek Muller.

The class concluded that the plants were not able to blossom (even though it is technically considered spring) because of the continued snowstorms hardening the soil, limiting the amount of sunlight and water reaching the plant’s roots.

Photos by Amanda Moses