The James Lick Middle School Dinosaur Garden is being created to help make tangible connections for people about the earth’s changing climate.
The changes that the earth is currently going through aren’t new. The manner by which the greenhouse gases are entering the atmosphere are new, however. But the levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been higher than they are now, and will continue to grow as we continue to burn fossil fuels.
The trees planted in the Dinosaur Garden are examples of trees that lived millions of years ago during the Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous and periods. When Ginkgo bilobas evolved (beginning in the Permian period, then dominating much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Cretaceous period) there were higher levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The same goes for Sequoias, Norfolk Island and Cook Island Pines, Podocarpus and other species of plants showcased in the JLMS Dinosaur Garden.
Youth will have the opportunity to plant out these ancient trees and plants. Learning all the while that there is currently around 400 parts per million of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But when these resilient trees dominated the earth there was as much as 7,000 parts per million carbon dioxide (during the Cambrian period).
These ancient trees are resilient and can handle higher levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, just as there was back millions of years ago. This resilience is an inspiration that life will continue and that these students can become resilient themselves!
The DINOSAUR GARDEN @ James Lick Middle School will boast ancient plants like Ginkgo biloba, Araucaria and Cycads. We want to build a recycled metal triceratops climbing structure by Karen Cusolito, and in May of 2017 facilitated a mural project that the youth co-created with local artist Sirron Norris. Recycled glass trilobites created by Ivan Lee Mora will crawl along the ground building the dialogue about decomposers and carbon cycling during the Cambrian period.
Please spread the word to help us raise funds to fund this educational garden that will remind all of us how the climate has changed before and how we humans are helping to change it again.
Composting is nature’s way of recycling. From banana peels to dirty paper towels, here in San Francisco we can compost lots of stuff. With the Recology industrial composting facility, Jepson Prairie Organics, in Vacaville California, San Franciscans can put useful organic material into the green bin for later reuse on farm fields throughout California.
Composting in schools is an incredible way to capture resources while cultivating the minds of young environmental leaders. CAN! supports school composting programs by promoting composting in the garden as well as promoting the use of the green cart in the lunchroom.
Learning about the various decomposers (creatures like worms, rolly pollys and slugs and snails) that help to break down, digest and poop-out valuable compost is a fun activity for youth of all ages. Of course, fungi and bacteria do their part as well! Worm bins, 3-bin active composting systems and passive systems are all utilized in CAN! educational gardens in our partner schools.
Composting is something that everyone can do right away that greatly supports the climate. Since during the rot process a lot of methane is released, composting in an open-air environment (with lots of Oxygen) helps to keep methane levels lower than if organic material were to enter the landfill. Organic material that makes it to the landfill doesn’t get reused and ends up releasing even more methane into the atmosphere. Since methane is 80 times worse for the climate than Carbon dioxide, composting at home and at school is a wonderful way to support a healthy and resilient climate.
James Lick Middle School
(JLMS) is one of the CAN! flagship school sites.