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In this Issue: Organism of the Year!!! 路

M a y 2 0 13

Organism C e n t r a l

Ta b l e o f C o n t e n t s

Organism of the Year– P. 3-4 Victory Gardens– P. 5-6 Poems– P. 7-10 Pictures– P. 11-14

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Organism of the Year

Amoebas belong to a group of single celled organisms called protozoa. There are approximately five million amoebas in one teaspoon of soil. Amoebas can live in salt water, pond water, topsoil, wet soil, and even inside of animal’s bodies. They mostly live in the topsoil where oxygen is is available. Their diet consists of mostly algae, bacteria, plant cells and other types of protozoa. Once they have eaten, they move their food to a storage area where the soil is healthy and fertile. Amoebas are also known as the soil recycling organism. Amoebas are not able to consume all bacteria's and due to this amoebas give back a large amount of nutrients. Amoebas keep the soil rich and release nutrients into the soil. This makes the soil very fertile and helps the plants grow. The soils ecosystem consists of many different organisms and plants. Each animal and plant has a specific function and together will make fertile soil and good living conditions for the animals inhabiting it. At the very bottom of the food web are amoebas, nematodes, fungi, arthropods, protozoa, algae, bacteria and other types of microorganisms. There are also many decomposers and organic matter in the soil. These organisms all help filter the soil, circulate the air, clean the water and keep the soil moist and the water flowing throughout the soil. All of these organisms work together to maintain a healthy ecosystem.

Victory Gardens A victory garden is a community garden that is created to help people who cannot afford to eat when times are hard. Planting victory gardens helped make food for your soldiers fighting in the war. These gardens grew 40% of the food during WWII. Victory gardens can help our community because it helps produce local, non -toxic food. It also uses no pesticides, no chemicals, has more nutrients and vitamins, and can bring the community together. Victory gardens were first started during World War I when the great depression started. It’s also a fun and healthy way to eat!

Poems Barbaric Yawp

One Wild and Precious Life

By Isabella

By Isabella

You are the unknown and the known.

My eye catches something bright orange.

My feet sink into your soft, wet soil.

A poppy, five of them actually.

Blades of grass pop up in between my toes.

Next to them, one lone tree stands.

Lemons burst from their blossom. The dead flowers seem to revive year after year. Shoots of asparagus break the soil. Bees land on the lavender, ready for a new flower. Everything seems so connected. Such harmony. But am I part of it?

Its large, sage trunk bursts from the ground. Its youth is gone, yet there are flowers upon its branches. Heart shaped, burgundy leaves flutter by. Its delicate branches sway, just for a second it is quiet. But loud voices break the silence.

Or are we separated? Is there a barrier between us?

I look over to see irises; their petals are thin paper.

What do I do for you?

Woodchips, small then large, soft then hard.

Does it hurt? My feet sinking into you.

When I look up, I see buds on the elder tree.

Do you feel the same as I?

Down below, there are dead flower petals.

Do you scream out in pain when I pluck a leaf from your stem?

When the new life starts to sprout the oldest goes.

Do you bruise when I put your fruit in between my fingers? Do you know when one of your kin has passed? I see you, but do you see me? Do you know whether I am here or there? Or am I mystery just as you are to I?

How delicate life is.

She Legs crossed along a spiraling bench I feel the suns heat and brightness burn my skin Zzzzmmm eye level I can see where I am Flecks of green and lavender entertain my eyes as Her hands fondle with the velvet rose leaf Whose hair is blown by the ruffling of branches? And eyes that squint to see This What surrounds her? Her mind chases thoughts as she Is surprised by what she has yet to see She who has traveled around and still Has not noticed what has surrounded her Yet she must discover her world one her own

Why must soil smell so good yet feel weird?!?!? Why does it become slimy and disgusting, is it compost I am think of or am I puzzled about what my likings are. I am imagine that what I am thinking of is compost, the mixture of our resources. Soil, must be the slimy and crumbly substance that has always on the soul of my shoe? It must be the worm filled mush that I will never enjoy or be satisfied with. To think that what I am stepping on could be Lucille ball, Frank Sinatra, or even my neighbor‌it spooks me. Would you want to stand on your idols or loved ones. It's not likely that you will, considering they are probably buried in a grave yard, but you are stepping on a resting soul. A soul that was living. I must be stepping on a home. On a home to our small friends. I am though as a giant to worms and a monster to moles. Am I a Godzilla to those creatures or am I just a disturbance to their peaceful lives. But isn't soil the resource used to grow my favorite fruits and vegetables? Is it what make chocolate possible.. Yet somehow I never have been fond of this substance. Let me tell you a's basically crap. No it IS crap What is inside this muck? Its Crap Bugs Poop People..... Isn’t it. What could ever be pleasant about that! -Zoya A.

Poems “One wild and precious life” Above me misty white clouds form in the sky, Drifting through the wind Birds fly, as fast as lightning along the blue and green horizon Singing their song of the wind The hushed chatter of people talking fills the deep blue sky

Barbaric Yawp My feet firmly planted in the soil, slowly sink into the rugged ground, becoming one. The microscopic organisms, crawling in the soil, clinging to my legs as I slowly begin to sink.

I don’t scream or yell as I sink, I simply wait. Jasmine floating through the breeze Once I am completely surrounded by filling your nose soil, I open my eyes Making you lose all of your senses They shift from seeing plain soil to all of the beautiful organisms surThe satin pedals under your touch rounding me. As if they were made of golden I opened my eyes for the first time. cloth All the tiny details drift away in the -Nicole So distant that is barely a whisper

wind as if they were blades of grass. What else have you missed? -Nicole


This is a photo collection of flowers from the Arlington Gardens. I chose the color pink because it represents spring and prosperity for nature. I picked these flowers because they are a newly boomed and represent spring.


I chose to capture the beauty of the trees growing on our campus, in my neighborhood and in the beautiful gardens we visited. My montage includes very old oak, pine, camphor, willow, olive, and cherry blossom trees. The trees ages vary from 30 to 125 years old! I also wanted to focus on the light and the sun during the day and how it reflects off the leaves. There are also many close-ups of the beautiful bark on these diverse trees.

Nature is what us human beings rely on. We depend on trees to supply use with oxygen, and hope for flowers to blossom. Nature is one of the most brilliant and amazing piece of our lives. These are not just photos from a field trip, its more than that, its our life. We need nature more than you can ever imagine. Without it we wouldn’t be here, I wouldn’t be talking to you or even getting an education. Our world revolves around nature and to be able to capture it is amazing.

Letter to the Editor Letter to the Editor By Nicole During the soil unit I experienced many opportunities that I wouldn’t be able to experience on my own. These experiences allowed me to gain a new understanding about soil and nature, and how they affect society and the world today. Before this unit I hadn’t know that soil had such a big impact on what we rely on today. I also enjoyed going to the Arlington gardens and taking soil samples to see how much bacteria and fungi were in that type of soil. I also thought that all soil would have the same kind of bacteria and fungi, but I found out that soil in different environments can alter the different types of bacteria. Going to the gardens also altered my perspective on something that the community can build together. My favorite part of this unit was planting the gardens and making Poppy bombs. Even though I didn’t plant the plants in the rain garden I enjoyed learning about native plants and that every year 7th graders make a rain garden. Planting my own strawberry plant and Poppy bombs were really interesting to make because we got to learn how to properly plant a strawberry plant. My favorite activity out of all of them were making the flower bombs. Also victory gardens played a huge impact in what I learned during this year. I didn’t know that victory gardens supplied 40% of the food during WWII, but were developed during WWI. Also since WWII the number of victory gardens in the US has decreased by a lot. Being able to be part of the beginning process of the new victory garden in Pasadena has allowed me to experience what a victory garden would have looked like. Also I learned that one vegetable bed could provide enough food for a four person family. I am glad I was able to experience all I could during this unit, and it has changed my perspective on soil. I no longer see soil as dirt, but a living ecosystem that can sustain life without any human interaction.

Letter to the Editor The soil unit was an amazing experience! It is a combination of crazy, surprising and fun! I definitely learned a lot from this project and will carry that information with me in the future. One of my favorite activities that we preformed was making a water garden on the Westridge campus behind the mudd building. This was one of my favorite activities because it will be there as a reminder that we have been educated about soil and have taken the time to understand our earth. It was also one of my favorite activities because it is there as a reminder to our generation that soil does matter and that we should take care of our only home, earth. The Arlington gardens was one experience that I will never forget! I realized how important our earth is and will never forget. I noticed the cars zooming by, the birds chirping and even the lizards climbing on the trees! Before us humans had come to United States it must have been all green, just imagine. Disneyland would be a vast land of desert and Westridge school would be muck. We have taken over we have created streets and cars when before that our earth was all green. It was a trip that changed my train of thought. The soil unit was thought changing. I Still may not enjoy soil or playing with worms but it has definitely changed my thought on them. They are not just there to disgust you, bit they are there to keep you alive. -Zoya

Letters to the Editor Dear Readers, Throughout the soil unit, we have been studying, and learning about soil and the effects it has on humans, microorganisms, plants and the earth. We took many field trips, and had lots of hands-on experiences. We walked to Arlington gardens to look at the plants, relax, write and study the life in the soil. My favorite part of this was being able to relax and meditate while walking in the labyrinth. The next day we saw a whole new part of a garden. In the beginning we took part in starting the work of the Pasadena Community Garden. I learned even though the garden has been in the process of designing and planning for 3 years, it still has a long way to go until it is ready for families to use. I helped by shoveling some soil into a raised bed while others helped to pull weeds. I was proud of myself because I was able to really get my hands dirty and be close with nature. About a week later, we took one last field trip to a hiking trail above Descanso Gardens, and then we walked around and took in the beauty of the garden. In addition to field trips, we also were able to talk to experts who came to our school. Together we planted a California native garden, an herb garden that will help support the Commons, a compost bin to fertilize the soil and got to plant and take home a potted strawberry plant, a newspaper pot with poppy seeds, and a clay seed ball. Almost every day, my group and I worked on our Soil Unit Project, which is making this magazine. We worked hard on making the components of the magazine and made sure it was our best work. We started our unit by learning about victory gardens. A victory garden is a community garden that helps feed people when there is little food or they cannot afford it. I was also able to learn about how soil relates to math and poetry. We learned about Fibonacci and his numbers relating to nature. We read many poems about our relationship to soil and decomposition. One of the poems we read was called, “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver, which was talking about becoming aware of her short life and feeling guilty from being idle for so long. Another poem we read was, “from This Compost” by Walt Whitman, which was about this man realizing the creatures in the ground and the organic matter he is walking on every day. I have discovered that learning in many ways can affect the way you look at things or feel about something. My favorite way to learn is to get some information, and then go do something that will help you understand it. I encourage all of my readers to go out and plant some seeds, visit a local garden, start your own garden, plant a flower bed, go to a farmer’s market, take a walk around your neighborhood, or just sit in your backyard. All you have to do is take a tiny step and I promise it will change the way you think about our world. Isabella Editor of Amoeba Weekly Magazine

Meet the Editors...

Nicole, Zoya, and Isabella

Soil Isabella Nicole Zoya  

Soil unit 2013