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Archive for October, 2012

There is definitely no shortage of resources for starting your own school garden in NYC! We’ve covered how you can DIY with GrowNYC’s Grow to Learn program, start a school garden on a fence with the Wooly School garden program, or even pursue becoming an Edible Schoolyard NYC  garden site.

But if you really want to talk to the experts and get comfortable with the basics, NYBG is hosting another School Gardening workshop on election day- November 8th. Register soon before spaces fill up!

School Gardening Workshop at New York Botanical Garden

8:30 am – noon; Cost: $35

Come learn about the benefits of having a garden on your school site. Join NYBG staff and other gardening organizations to learn about logistics, resources, and curriculum connections for creating, maintaining, and  integrating gardens into your students’ learning. This half-day workshop is the perfect primer for helping you begin planning or even rekindling a garden on your school site.

For more information, contact Judith Hutton, at 718.817.8140 or jhutton@nybg.org. To register, contact Registration at 718.817.8181 or school_programs@nybg.org.

If you can’t make the election day workshop, NYBG also offers more extended Professional Developments around school gardening:

 

School Gardening 101: Creating a Garden February 18-23, 2013

School Gardening 201: Curriculum Connections July 22-27, 2013

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In our Migration Sensation program, we spotlight a vital bird behavior called preening. Have you ever observed a bird rustling their beak into their plumage? They’re retrieving special oils from a gland at the base of their tail and applying it to their feathers. Those oils help to waterproof and protect their feathers. When researching tidbits about grackles for our last post, I came across a strange phenomenon involving preening and ants. Grackles, along with over 250 other bird species, can occasionally be found standing on top of an anthill in a still posture with their wings outstretched. Their aim is to disturb the ants and send them into full home-defense mode. The ants frantically crawl over the bird’s body releasing chemicals like formic acid. These chemicals may supplement the bird’s own preening oils and they serve to ward off other insects as well as fungus and bacteria.

Along with coating their feathers with oils, preening birds are also “zipping” up their feathers. They’re reattaching each tiny hook and barbules on each barb that lines each feather. Take a close up look at these important, yet surprisingly simple, structures.

As feathers get ruffled throughout a bird’s busy day, they become less aerodynamic. Each feather is attached to its own muscle and serves to make the bird an intricate flying machine. Humans studied birds when designing the airplane, but the modern airplane pales in comparison to our feathery friends. The airplane has a few flaps and a rudder to create lift and drag while a bird has hundreds of teardrop shaped feathers manipulating the airflow around its body. Each feather must be kept neatly groomed and placed in its prime position for flight.

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