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The organism of the year……… Is the Amoeba!!!!!!!! Get an inside look on the Amoeba and many other cool articles!!!!

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Table of Contents


Cover Story of the Amoeba of the Year


Class trip to the Gardens


Two “One Wild and Precious Life Poems


One “One Wild and Precious Life Poems and one “Barbaric Yawp” Poem


Two “Barbaric Yawp” Poems


A Profile of a Westridge Tree


History of Arlington Gardens


Letter From Rachel C.


Letter From Ada L.



Organism of the Year Cover Story There are many kinds of organisms in the soil. Some of the organisms are helpful to the soil, while other organisms aren’t helpful. First, why does soil even matter? Soil is important because they enable plants to grow, allowing us to have food to eat, and forests and flowers to get oxygen. Soil is a major part in farming and food production because of our growing population. Climate and soil together are responsible for the world’s major forests. These forests are a good source of timber, fuel, and home to a wide range of plants and animals. Since there is such a wide variety of climates and soils throughout the world, it produces a wide range of trees around the world. Now that you know how important soil is, let’s talk about a dangerous subject; soil loss. Soil is a necessity to humans. Soil is being used up and it is being lost. Soil loss (soil erosion) is when the topsoil of the land gets washed or blown away. This is bad because humans rely on soil for food, forestry, and wildlife (just to name a few. The two main reasons of soil loss are wind and water. When the wind picks up and swoops up all the topsoil and steals it away taking it to other places that may or may not need it. Water erosion can occur anywhere but it is mainly where excessive cultivation occurs typically. The farming causes the topsoil to become loss and when there is a lot of rainfall the soil disintegrates. Some other causes of soil loss/erosion are intensive farming, a lot of grazing, and deforestation. If the world keeps treating the soil the way it does we will not have any healthy soil to plant our fruits and vegetable and our animals will not have any healthy grass to eat. Some ways that we could protect our soil is by less intensive cultivation for example when we farm after the season not to plant in the exact same place but to move or plant a different type of crop so that the same nutrient won’t keep being taken up over and over again. Another way is to keep moving grazing points for example if you have many cows in one grazing field for years and years the soil will become unhealthy and thus forth causing the cows to be unhealthy and when we eat them we may contract some things that we don’t want in our system. Now that you know why soil matters and that soil is disappearing, now we can talk about how to stop the soil from disappearing. The organism of the year, the amoeba, is part of a group called protozoa. The amoeba mainly eats bacteria. Bacteria have too much nitrogen in their bodies for the amoeba, so where does the nitrogen go? The amoeba releases the nitrogen into the soil, but in a form called ammonium. The ammonium goes into the soil, and most of it gets quickly taken up by bacteria and other organisms, but some of the ammonium gets taken by the plant, and since ammonium is a nutrient, that helps the plants. The amoeba also helps, because they eat bacteria, and that regulates the bacteria population. Now, I’m going to share a fact with you, but it’s a secret, and no one knows about this, so don’t tell anyone, okay? Soil holds 0.01% of the Earth’s water. It is a composition of 49% oxygen, 33% silicone, 4% iron, and 2% carbon. Air and water make up 50% of the soil, while minerals and organic matter make up the other half. “If we pollute the air, water and soil that keep us alive and well, and destroy the biodiversity that allows natural systems to function, no amount of money will save us.” -David Suzuki By: Ada L., Rachel C., and Matilde E.

CLASS TRIPS T o A r l i n g t o n a n d d e s c a n s o g a r d e n s

Arlington Gardens

On March 3 the 7th grade class of 2018 took a field trip to Arlington Gardens in Pasadena, CA. The Arlington Gardens is a 3 acre vacant lot that had been filled with low water using Mediterranean plants. During the time that we were at Arlington Gardens we did many things. We broke off into three groups. In one of the groups they walked a labyrinth and practiced tree pose. In another group they did a science experiment. In the third group they read poems and wrote their own. When each group was done we rotated until all groups had done everything. In the Labyrinth we walked through a labyrinth and thought about out troubles. Once we got to the center we let go of our troubles and peacefully walked back. Once we were done walking the labyrinth we practiced the yoga pose “Tree pose.” In the poetry group we read two poems: “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver and “Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” by James Wright. We talked about the poems and contemplated what they meant. Afterwards everyone went their own ways to take in their surroundings a write their own poem. In the science experiment group we did an experiment that compares microorganisms that live in different soil samples. We had 6 petri dishes. At the bottom of each dish there is microorganism food. For the first three in each petri dish we will put a different type of soil. In one dish we opened it, exposed it to air for a few minutes then closed it up again. In the two remaining dish we could put anything in it (for example: a flower, some more dirt, a bug). After a few days we would see if any microorganisms in our sample ate the food and reproduced and thrived.

Our class walking through the Labyrinth at Arlington Gardens

Our class at Descanso Gardens

Descanso Gardens

When we got to Descanso Gardens we took a forty minute hike and we looked at the beautiful scenery and enjoyed the weather. After we walked back down the trail we walked into the garden. While we were in the garden we took pictures of flowers and enjoyed the plants and the garden décor. We only stayed in the garden for a little while but while we were there we enjoyed ourselves. Article by: Matilde E. Flowers at Arlington Gardens


One Wild and Precious Life Poem

One Wild and Precious Life Ada L. Above me are the branches of the tree that is offering shade to us The leaves rain on me as the wind rushes by Far away in the distance, I see the pale white of the clouds, wandering aimlessly in the sky I hear birds chirping, but not a raucous noise It is a sweet, musical melody, but to an unfamiliar tune I hear the whirling noise of the automobiles far away I smell an unfamiliar smell Perhaps it is a herb, a tree, or a plant I smell the earthly smell of soil I feel the crumbly softness of the ground To my right, I see a little bird, perhaps a hummingbird, hovering over the golden patch of flowers The hovering bird then quickly darts and zips away I see a small orange butterfly flutter and shake around the bush I shield my eyes from the golden beam that the sun is forcing on me Perhaps the sun is angry with us being able to escape the glare, Under this magnificent tree Why are these wonderful things not easily recognized?


One Wild and Precious Life Above me I see trees blooming and flowers growing. In the distance I see beautiful palm trees. In the garden, a bird chirps, making the sound of a fire siren. Not too far ahead, I hear people talking. I smell the juicy burgers from the nearby visitors. I smell the fresh scent of the flowers in the garden. I smell the scent of wood from a nearby object. The hot sensation my fingers get from this tiny object becomes the blazing sun. The shape is like three ice cream scoops in a cone. The bird at the top is small, yet it stands out. The paint is peeling, showing the color of rock. The spring sunlight reflects off a small crystal ball. It shows vibrant colors up close, but from a distance it looks black. Spring is here. By Rachel C.



One Wild and Precious Life Poem t o d e s c a n s o a n d B a r b a r i c Y a wap rPlo ie n mg t o n g a r fPdo e Ams by: Matilde E. One Wild Precious Life Arlington Gardens O














Above me Description Qty. OneItem drop# of water Descending from a thin black wire Drops into a bucket and flows together with those other individual drops of water Flowing in harmony A small bird Lands on the thin black wire Every few seconds the bird bows to the world And sips many singular drops of water I disturb its silence and it flutters away The world around me is so loud The vroom of the car The buzz of the bees The chatter of the unforgiving The song of other birds

I reach out my hand directly under the black wire A drop of water lands on my hand Colder than lukewarm Not warm enough to please myself I am unappreciative Order total: ~ Matilde E. Tax: Shipping: Total:

Earth, Myself, and I

Elegant bark towers Name With beautiful silky green leaves sprouting from the bark Shielding Addressmy eyes from the world around me Shielding my eyes from a world rushed A world rushed to get everything done A world unlike the peaceful calm world I am in

Life has a subtle way of showing That we are connected to everything To everyone and to all Even the dirt beneath our feet With every sweet succulent fruit With every salad With every tender juicy steak

Sweet, fragrant pink flowers Sweet as the perfume my mother wears Phone

I don’t thank the soil That wondrous nutritious topsoil gave me That fruit That gave me that salad That gave me that steak

Earthy, with a hint of sweetness Light as air Is the grass around me Sour and painful The exhaust from the cars whizzing by A distorted shard of the world around me A jagged piece of this morsel disturbs the smooth bumpy rest of this shard A piece not belonging in my vicinity Card C in by the wind A pieceCredit carried Looking clockwise I see a path A dirt path in the center of neon colored trees A path twisting and turning to view many neon colored trees A path that would eventually lead me back to where I am sitting An undulation An undulation presenting itself in the bucket of water Disappearing every so often only to appear again

I elevate my eyes To see another wire Thicker than the one before Instead the ground Priceof pointing towardsSubtotal It is parallel to the ground It is being held up by a wooden pole Disturbing the world that I live on


I thank me mother for cooking that meal I thank that animal for providing my meal But I never thought about thanking my soil Without the soil I would not have a ground for my feet I would not have a sturdy base for my house I only think of myself ~Matilde E.

Barbaric Yawp Poems

Random Squirrel

Barbaric Yawp As I sink into the lush green grass, I start to think about the plants and the soil. What makes us connected? I look up to the blue sky, with fluffy white clouds. Soil is helpful, but in what way? What makes us connected? Soil provides food for us, doesn’t it? Why else is it important though? In what other ways are we connected? Well, soil does provide a stable foundation for our buildings. Soil also can provide a home for many bugs and animals. I guess we really are connected in many ways. -Rachel C.

Barbaric Yawp Ada L. I watch as the seedling is planted into the soil Into the magnificent, life-giving soil I watch as a sprout pops up as the days go by Would this be possible without soil? Would imitation ever work? I sit there and watch as the earthworm peeks out of the soil at me The earthworm disappears, back into its home Would the earthworm still have a place to live if the soil was gone? Would any organism survive? Would we survive? I look at the trees and the plants The green is a soft green It does not hurt my eyes Would this green still be here, If the soil was gone? Erosion, Disappearance of organic matter Even humans All causes of the disappearance of soil Will we ever learn to protect soil? Or will the soil disappear slowly, Leaving us to fade away?

Picture of the Ranney Tree 6


Profile of a Westridge Tree A r t i c l e

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Creative Drawing Paragraph Ada L. The picture that I drew is a tree. Trees are important, because they take carbon dioxide and make it into oxygen. This is called photosynthesis. Trees are related to the soil, because without soil, trees wouldn't be able to grow, and if they weren’t able to grow, then we wouldn’t be able to live, because we need oxygen. I drew the giant tree from Ranney court, known to everyone as the “Ranney tree”.

Drawing of the Ranney Tree


H I S T O RY O F A R L I N G T O N G A R D E N S R a c h e l

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History of Arlington Gardens Arlington Gardens is a three acre garden located in Pasadena, California. It is Pasadena’s only dedicated public garden that changes with the seasons. During the summer, many plants still hold some color, even though many are resting. In the fall, the leaves from the sycamore, Chinese Pistache, cottonwood, crape myrtle, and pomegranate trees turn bright yellow or red. The trees turn barest during the winter, but some color remains. With early rains comes promise of new life, when the Garden comes alive again in the spring. 40 years ago, a Caltrans site stood vacant. From the construction of the 710 freeway, a garden has come forth, showing people how attractive and effective a low water using Mediterranean climate garden could be. In 2003, the City and Caltrans began talking about the use of the three acre site, home to only two mature oaks, a jacaranda, a California Pepper, and five different varieties of palms. Councilmember Steve Madison, asked the community what public development they would like to see on the vacant three acre site. The consensus said that it should be passive, with no playing fields, parking lots, or restrooms. There wasn’t any idea about what the three acre lot would be used for. Betty McKinney suggested to develop a water-wise Meditteranean climate garden. The idea was set, but like many other good ideas, people looked to others to get it started. Betty and Kicker took their idea and started it. Since the start of the garden, the McKenneys have planted nearly 400 trees and a wide variety of plants that can cooperate with our cool, wet winters, temperate springs and falls, and hot, dry, summers. They added benches, tables and chairs with umbrellas, pots, paths, and a labyrinth between them, so that one can find peace of mind and serenity in our increasingly urban community, and learn about drought tolerant gardening.




C .

Dear Reader,

I had a great time in the soil unit because of all the fun activities we did. I especially enjoyed the Descanso Gardens and the soil unit rotations. I learned a lot throughout the entire soil unit and I am proud that we got to learn about this. I had a really fun time on the field trips we went on because there were a lot of things to take pictures of. I also enjoyed the field trips because of the experience and activities. Some things that were challenging along the way were things like pulling out the crab grass at the Pasadena Community Gardens, working on the propaganda posters as a group, and for me to concentrate on writing my poem at the Arlington Gardens. Overall, I had a great experience learning about soil. Sincerely, Rachel C.


Dear Reader, I learned many things during the days of the soil unit. On the first day, we had an introduction to the soil unit, learned about our projects, and learned about victory gardens. On the second day, we went to the Arlington gardens. On the third day, we went to the Pasadena community garden. On the fourth day, we worked on our projects. On the fifth day, we did a couple of activities. Today, we went on a small hike. When we came back, we did lots of small activities. On the first day, we learned about victory gardens. We learned that they were started in World War I, because they needed food to supply the people of U.S., and victory gardens were perfect for the job. On the second day, at the Arlington gardens, we did a science experiment with Ms. Chabot. We wrote poems with Mr. Cross, we did yoga with Ms. Bizar and Ms. McCabe, and we had a peaceful walk through the labyrinth. The Arlington gardens were very peaceful and there were many beautiful plants there, but the sun was shining too brightly at us, and that made me very hot. I was surprised to find out that there were many organisms living in the air. On the third day, we went to the Pasadena community gardens, and we pulled roots there. I learned that pulling roots were very hard, and that we had to be especially careful, because the roots could hurt our hands. One thing that really surprised me was that crabgrass had long vines. On the fourth day, we had a workday to work on our projects. We worked on finishing our propaganda posters, and researching for the organism of the year cover story. One of the challenges was working together as a group, because some of us liked one thing, and some of us liked something else. I learned that the amoeba eats bacteria, and releases the nutrients left over from the bacteria into the soil, which other organisms, such as bacteria, and plants absorb. Yesterday, we worked on our projects and learned about the Fibonacci numbers. Figuring out the pattern was a challenge, and I am proud of completing the Fibonacci worksheet. One thing that surprised me was the the numbers appeared a lot in nature. I didn’t know that they appeared in nature before. I think that I should be for observant in the future. Today, we went on a hike in the Descanso gardens. The trail was challenging for me, because some of the pathways were steep, so I had to be very careful and not slip. While going uphill was very tiring and challenging, going downhill was even more challenging, but less tiring. I almost slipped a lot of times. After the hike, we went into Descanso gardens, and the flowers and trees were very beautiful. The garden was peaceful, and I took a lot of pictures. Later, we went back to the school and we had a variety of activities. The activity that I like the best was making seed bombs and planting strawberries and poppies into a flower pot to take home. The seed bombs were very messy, but making them was fun. We also learned about trees, we planted a rain forest in the back of Mudd, we learned about herbs, and we made a middle school worm compost bin. I enjoyed the soil unit a lot, and feel that we learned about a lot of things about soil. We also did a lot of hands-on activities, and I liked the activities, except maybe the seed bombs one, because our hands got very messy, and clay takes forever to wash out. The soil unit was fun, and I hope that we get to do something like this in the future. Sincerely, Ada L.


M a t i l d e

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Tuesday, April 9, 13 Dear Readers, This past seven days I had a soil unit. During this soil unit we learned about so many things ranging from visiting Arlington gardens to learning about propaganda poster advertising Victory gardens. From learning how to make seed bombs and plant plants to doing a science experiment to learn about microorganisms all around us. On the first day we learned about victory gardens how they got started and why people decided to start them. On the second day we visited Arlington Gardens. At Arlington gardens we wrote poems, did a science experiment, walked through a labyrinth, and practiced yoga tree poses. During the next two days we learned about how people advertised victory gardens using propaganda posters, and we also learned about how soil is formed and what is good and bad for soil. On the third day we also visited the Pasadena community garden. On the fifth day we learned about the Fibonacci sequence. On the last day we learned about native plants and trees in California, we made seed bombs, made our own compost bin, and planted herbs. On the last day we wrapped up the soil unit. Sincerely, Matilde E.


Organism of the Year by Ada Matilde Rachel  

Soil Unit magazine.