Berkeley, CA, USA
Malcolm X Elementary
Outdoor Classrooms for East Bay Students
SUGi partners with schools across the globe to plant ultra-dense, biodiverse forests closer to the classroom. Berkeley, California will be home to the first three Miyawaki School Forests in the United States.
Students at Malcolm X Elementary will not only benefit from the direct health effects of urban forests, but learning in nature improves a child’s behaviour, helps them build stronger relationships, reduces stress and anger, and heightens curiosity.
Even seeing nature from a school building fosters creative thinking and expands the imagination.
Today’s kids spend a whopping 44 hours a week in front of a screen and less than 10 minutes a day playing outside. Access to nature is not equal; it’s too often dictated by where you live, your race and income level. These forests will be a big leap forward in resetting the balance.
Forest Maker Ethan Bryson
Forest Report: 1 Year
Survival Rate: 98%
Average of tallest 3 Trees: 305cm
At Malcolm X, we are into our second year of having a Miyawaki Forest. The plants have all grown tremendously since the planting ceremony last year, to all our delight and surprise.We have a new project this year of writing a collective field guide to the plants in there. I am the science teacher for all the 4th and 5th graders who have learned how to classify and identify plants using field guides and dichotomous keys.
We observed the plants from the perimeter of the forest to reduce foot traffic, noticing specific characteristics like leaf margins and venation patterns.We researched the plants on websites, took notes and will paraphrase into our wording for our field guide. With the art teacher, all 180 students will draw detailed sketches of the plants for the field guide.We also will be measuring the plants’ growth throughout the year and charting it.
Last year, we studied the regenerative nature of native forests and took detailed, labeled visual notes of the forest and from Miyawaki TED talks.Other classes have visited the forest, mulched the forest, and written letters to the plants.There is great pride and care of our forest.
We have noticed an increase in insects and even found a nest at the base of a young willow.We have heard birds and seen butterflies.
Forest Report: Planting