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Issue 01 28 Oct, 2009

Table Of Contents * Introduction * About Us * Building A Sustainable Japanese Garden

H ey everyone! Wel c o m e to the fir st ne w sletter of E OT C, or E du c ation Out side the C l a s sr oo m. E OT C i s a non-profit c olla borative or g a nization with the g o al of edu c atin g people out side of the tradition al learnin g s p a c e. We w a nt to u s e c o m m unity s e rvi c e opportunitie s, foru m s, a nd other for m s of m edi a to g et people a ctive in the c o m m unity a nd hopefully allo w the m to learn s o m ethin g ne w alon g the w a y. We ju st s et up a Fa c b oo k p a g e a n d are g ettin g everythin g s t arted. Ty p e E OT C into the s e ar ch box to find u s! - T h e E OT C s t aff

EOTC staff: Nikko Shaw, Richard Vittitow and Haley Barela For more information, please contact us at

Last year we entered a website design contest to build a web page based around how we imagined the future. Our page was based around how to conserve the environment and especially endangered animals. We were lucky enough to win the grand prize. After getting our names from the contest we were hired by the New Mexico Green Collaborative to help them design their website. We then began working and brainstorming with New Mexico Educators and decided on building our own program, EOTC. We are striving to make a better educative community for persons in our local area, and eventually internationally. We are doing everything from working with legislatures and representatives to community service to achieve a better education for our community.

Building A Sustainable Japanese Garden By Nikko Shaw Just after the 8th grade retreat at Albuquerque Academy ninety nine tired students made their way to the northeast side of the library. There they met Ms. Spidell, a science teacher at the Academy who has decided to build a Japanese garden on campus. After visiting Japan recently, Spidell was interested in pulling all her points of expertise together into one large project at school. Once she’d cleared the project with the school, she was on her way to building the garden. Fortunately for Spidell, she started the project at a time when the economy was still healthy. Because of this, she was able to convince the school to help her and allow her to build the garden in a spot by the library they’d been wanting to do something with. “And then we had the financial crunch,” Spidell told us, and Academy headmaster Andy Watson asked Spidell to defer the garden for a while. She waited until Ms. Beamish, a colleague of Spidell’s and also a science teacher, offered to help Spidell with her sustainability fund. Before any construction with students began, Spidell got the Academy’s Grounds Crew out onto the spot. They helped Spidell sculpt the land to allow for an easier planting process. They also worked on what would become the river and pond. Once they had finished, the garden was really on its way. Recently the Academy changed their community service requirements to include 2 hours of on campus community service, called Chargers in Action, or CIA. Originally Spidell’s garden was going to be an 8th grade project, but she was approached and asked if she would like some help from other students. Since then she has had more than 17 teams of CIA workers, spanning the entire 10/12 division, as well as extra help from the 8/9 division and the 6th graders in the lower campus. Besides the school, Spidell has gotten help from the local Botanical Gardens which recently opened their own Japanese garden. They invited Spidell out to the location the evening before opening and allowed her to take pictures for inspiration on her own garden. She hopes to invite the Japanese men and women who worked on the local garden to come out and help her with her own. Not only is Spidell planning the garden to be a place of serenity like the gardens she has seen and read about which have simply been made from whatever is present, she is working at making the garden as sustainable as possible. She has installed a fifteen hundred gallon cistern at the corner of the library which will gather any rain runoff and water the entire garden. It will also be attached to solar panels, which will gather energy into a gel battery which won’t freeze. “I can almost get away without pumps,” Spidell said, “except for I have some plants on the high end.” However, these pumps will be run by the solar power and she is hoping to add a second cistern and the top of the hill so the pumps won’t be needed. She hopes that once she has everything up and running she won’t have to take any water from the school. Spidell has also received a grant from PNM to help her with wiring and instillation of other technological aspects. Spidell is planning on aligning the garden so that it mimics the nearby Sandia Mountains and Rio Grande River that flow through the city. If she accomplishes this she and other teachers will be able to use the garden to teach their 8th grade Earth Systems class, which includes such components as tectonic plates and rocks and minerals in an overall geology unit. If she gets enough help, Spidell thinks the garden will be finished by Thanksgiving. However, when the garden is finished depends on how many workers Spidell can get to help her on the project. So far she has worked a lot on her own, and she hopes to get more help soon. Once she’s finished she plans on getting a memorial put in for Barbara Trussel from the school’s library by putting a lantern on a small island in the middle of the pond named Turtle Island. Currently no plans for a school-wide opening ceremony are set in stone, but Spidell is hoping to organize something with Japanese families in the area to honor them.

If you would like to help Mrs. Spidell with her garden please contact her at for CIA or other volunteer times.

EOTC Newsletter Issue One  

Education Outside the Classroom Monthly Newsletter, issue one.

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