Cooking up an Earth Day lunch Monday, South Whidbey students made fresh masa harina tortillas by hand, cooked them on the griddle and stuffed them with bean and greens grown in their own school garden. (Photo provided)

Cooking up an Earth Day lunch Monday, South Whidbey students made fresh masa harina tortillas by hand, cooked them on the griddle and stuffed them with bean and greens grown in their own school garden. (Photo provided)

South Whidbey buzzes with Earth Day activities

Lesson plan includes making mason bee jars, planting veggies, bird watching

The birds and the bees were in the lesson plans Monday for some South Whidbey public school kids but it had nothing to do with birth and everything to do with Mother Earth.

Earth Day activities for fifth and sixth graders included cooking up lunch using school garden produce, learning about Whidbey’s wide variety of birds and making little houses for little buzzing bees.

Representatives from a variety of local environmental organizations led mini workshops for about 40 students who rotated through the sessions that took place at South Whidbey School Farms.

Earth Day, first celebrated on April 22, 1970 by some 20 million Americans, has grown to include events in more than 193 countries with participation of one billion people, according to Earth Day Network.

South Whidbey’s full-day of outdoor education will be repeated Thursday, known as Youth Earth Day, for another group of students, said Maribeth Crandell with Island Transit.

On Monday, students boarded an Island Transit bus to travel to the Langley Whale Center where lessons on mammoth-size marine mammals awaited them.

Whidbey Watershed Stewards and the Whidbey Audubon Society showed the video,” Backyard Wildlife,” produced by Craig and Joy Johnson and then challenged students to identify some rather wooden birds placed around the garden grounds.

Susan Prescott from South Whidbey Tilth taught students about the importance of pollinators and the difference between mason bees and honey bees. Students then tried their hand at making mason bee boxes.

Mason bees are native to the Northwest and are non-aggressive and friendlier than the better known European honeybees. Placing nesting boxes for mason bees near fruit trees and gardens will help with pollination of flowers, plants and trees as the native bees forage for pollen and nectar.

Earth Day was also tasty.

Students prepared tortillas stuffed with beans and garden greens, some just grown in the school garden hoop house. They were assisted by Cary Peterson, Nadean Curtiss and Kylie Neal of South Whidbey School Farms.

“The students made fresh masa harina tortillas by hand, and cooked them on the griddle,” Peterson said. “Then added fresh lettuce, spinach and pea shoots from the School Farm.”

Students also learned about the importance of pollinators and made mason bee boxes.

Students also learned about the importance of pollinators and made mason bee boxes.

Emily Kerley, left, Baylie Kuschnereit and Clara Jurriaans enjoy Earth Day homegrown and homemade tacos. They were among a group of South Whidbey fifth and sixth graders participating in activities on Monday relating to Mother Earth. For lunch, students made fresh masa harina tortillas on the griddle and stuffed them with beans and greens grown at the South Whidbey School Farms. (Photos provided)

Emily Kerley, left, Baylie Kuschnereit and Clara Jurriaans enjoy Earth Day homegrown and homemade tacos. They were among a group of South Whidbey fifth and sixth graders participating in activities on Monday relating to Mother Earth. For lunch, students made fresh masa harina tortillas on the griddle and stuffed them with beans and greens grown at the South Whidbey School Farms. (Photos provided)

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