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This conference is made possible by the generous contributions of our conference co-sponsors:

Department of the Environment, City and County of San Francisco

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

San Francisco Beautiful

San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance (SFGSA)

San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR)

San Francisco Unified School Distric



If you have any questions about this webpage, please contact the webmaster at: sharon@ecoschools.com

EcoSchool Design™ www.ecoschools.com

San Francisco

Green Schoolyard Alliance (SFGSA)

2004 Green School Grounds Conference

October 8 & 9, 2004


Photographs from the Conference!

Saturday, October 9, 2004



Workshops held at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy in San Francisco

The workshops on Saturday, October 9, 2004 were held at three different schools in different parts of San Francisco. Please click the links below to see the photographs from each workshop held at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.

A. Bamboo Shade Structure (AM & PM)
B. Cob Oven Sculpture (AM & PM)
C. School Gardening 101 (AM)
D. Solar Schoolhouse: Hands-on Education Energized by the Sun (AM)
E. Groceries from the Garden (PM)
F. "Forum" on Children's Health on School Grounds (PM)


Workshop A: Bamboo Shade Structure

Instructor: Darrel DeBoer, DeBoer Architects

This workshop helped participants to learn about bamboo construction techniques while they helped to build a small shade structure for the host school out of this locally grown, renewable resource.

Workshop B: Cob Oven Sculpture

Instructor: Jackson Porretta, Oakland Leaf Foundation

This workshop helped participants to learn about an earth-based construction technique called cob. Cob is a blend of sand, clay, and straw that is typically mixed together using a "high tech" foot-stomping method (as shown below), and then applied to the growing form by hand. This workshop included project design and construction techniques, as well as tips for cooking with outdoor ovens on school grounds.

The photos above show the cob oven project during the workshop on Saturday, October 9, 2004. The following work was done on that day:

The foundation, made from chunks of broken concrete (called "urbanite") salvaged from their original use as paving, was completed.

The initial cob platform was finished, and the kiln brick floor of the oven was placed on this base. The kiln bricks were then covered with a temporary domed pile of sand, which is used as a place holder for the oven cavity during the cob construction process. (It will be removed when the oven is almost done.) A layer of newspaper was placed over the sand to make the sand easier to remove from the oven later. Around that core is the first "thermal layer" of clay (without straw) that will form the inside of the oven. On top of that thermal layer is a second layer of cob, with straw to give the oven walls added strength.

The workshop made a lot of progress in a single day, but there was still more to do to transform this structure into a working oven! The final layers of cob were applied in the weeks following the conference by the workshop leaders and Kim Baranek, the school's garden and nutrition instructor. (Thank you!)

The final steps still remain to be done: adding a layer of "finish plaster" (clay, without large pieces of straw) and then applying several coats of food-grade linseed oil to the surface. Both of these finishing layers will improve the oven's appearance and help it to be more weather resistant.

We will post more photos of the oven's progress as we get them. Stay tuned!


Workshop C: Gardening 101

Instructors: Sebastien Bacharach, Garden for the Environment, A Project of HANC; and Arden Bucklin-Sporer, Director of Educational Gardens, SFUSD

This workshop taught participants the basics of organic gardening, design, maintenance, and composting. It also discussed methods of working with children outdoors, and how to get school buy-in. At the end of the workshop, participants got their hands dirty adding some cool weather edible plants to four new wine barrel planters in the schoolyard. Two of the planters are shown below.


Workshop D: Solar Schoolhouse: Hands-on Education Energized by the Sun

Instructor: Konika Ray, Headlands Institute and Rahus Institute

This workshop helped participants to learn how to put the sun to use in their schoolyard by teaching them hands-on solar curricula that can be used to create human sundials, solar box cookers, mini-solar cells, and many other sun-powered lessons.

Workshop E: Groceries from the Garden

Instructors: Claire Beyer and Kari Rodenkirchen, The Watershed Project

This workshop encouraged educators to show their students the pleasures of growing, harvesting, preparing, and tasting garden-grown plants. Groceries from the Garden presented easy recipes to complete in the classroom, as well as tips and resources for cooking with students. The workshop emphasized the benefits of local organic food production, with recipes incorporating pollution prevention, nutrition, and waste reduction themes. The workshop participants received seeds, recipes, and lesson plans so that they could try some of what they learned at their own schools. Topics covered included tea plants, no-cook recipes, taste testing, and evaluation of healthy lunch choices for children. Curriculum correlations were made in other subjects, including nutrition, math, and social studies.


Workshop F: "Forum" on Children's Health on School Grounds

Moderator: Irene Yen

Workshop attendees participated in a discussion with a panel of experts on children's health and nutrition issues as they relate to school grounds. Topics covered included range of ideas from nutrition-based school gardens to how to avoid schoolyard health hazards (such as things that trigger asthma).


Mark Elkin is Project Coordinator for the Nutrition Education Project (NEP) of San Francisco Unified School District. Mark provided an overview of NEP's efforts to encourage students and families to eat more fruits and vegetables and increase physical activity levels. He focused on nutrition policy at the city level and provided ideas and resources to create positive change at the school level based on successful strategies implemented by NEP.

Vannie Phan is a Community Health Worker with HERC's Breathing Counts Project. She described their education, assessment, and treatment projects. Asthma is the primary reason students are absent from school. Vannie provided participants with tools to recognize asthma, prevent it, and support students with asthma.

Matt Tsang presented a case study from the Willard Middle School garden program in Berkeley. He spoke about their successes: working with students to create and maintain production gardens that support the school lunch program; incorporating animals into the school garden; and partnering with local businesses. (See photo of Matt at the workshop, below.)

Susan Zieleniewicz, the Bay Area Region 5 a Day-Power Play! Coordinator, of the University of California Cooperative Extension, highlighted Power Play! and UCCE nutrition education curriculum, materials and resources available for schools and community youth organizations. In her presentation, she discussed different topics such as childhood obesity and food industry marketing to children.

The photographs above show the Children's Health Forum group listening to speakers Mark Elkin (left) and Matt Tsang (right).

If anyone has additional photographs from this workshop, please email them to sharon@ecoschools.com and I will post them here. Thanks!