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of the Year




6 Poems That Will Take Your Breath Away Pg. 4

By Elizabeth F.

PLUS: A Never-BeforeSeen Photo Montage pg.12 Photographed by Grace C.

Cover Story: Saprophytes: Decomposing Fungi pg. 2

Saprophytes: Decomposing Fungi Most people think soil is just made up of meaningless slabs of dirt. Contrary to this belief, soil is one of the most important factors to an organism’s survival. Soil is what gives us food and oxygen through plants and animals. Without soil, life on Earth would not exist. There is a serious issue with soil loss. The soil can have organic matter and nutrients in it that are essential to growing food. It has energy for organisms, and the organisms help make our soil rich with the nutrients. The food made by the soil helps make energy and nutrients for us. When soil loss happens, a way to help the soil is to compost. Composting is a mixture of decaying organic substances that are used for fertilizing soil. Old fruit and vegetable carcasses have organic

A drawing of saprophyte mushrooms by Rebecca C.

matter that can be composted. They decompose over time and put organic matter into soil. The composted soil can be put on top of soil that lacks the nutrients. By having good soil with the organic matter, the soil will hold more water.

Saprophytes are very important to soil, because without them there would be no nutrients. The job of saprophytes, along with other organisms, is to decompose dead leaves and animal carcasses. Without these mushrooms, things wouldn’t decompose, so the soil would never get more nutrients. When the saprophytes decompose the dead plant material, it goes back into the soil as compost, greatly enriching the soil. Saprophytes often grow on the sides of trees. When the tree falls down and dies, the mushrooms are the first to start decomposing it. By Ellie F, Grace C, and Rebecca C.

Poems Arlington Garden Above me lies the big blue sky Just under it, in the distance, the mountains

The beautiful sound of the chirping birds fills the garden and the sound of a little girl running through the garden’s paths Outside of it, the real world The city filled with streets and cars The garden, fresh While the city is not

The flowers have just bloomed and they are bright and pretty The leaves are a dark green and glorious Some smooth, some rough Some rounded, some rigid

I look around a bit To my right, Ms. Caron waving as she walks by some flowers Those flowers, gleaming in the light Bright orange, yellow, and purple

I get up and crouch down Soil That's what I see Lots of it How does that make such amazing plants? How? Magic -Grace C

Soil Outdoors In my little garden I look at all the food beginning to come in Tomatoes, broccoli, radishes, strawberries, herbs and more Fresh food, not enhanced

Soil It’s very compacted, too hard to pick up It’s rich and there is wet soil in which the food lies in That's what makes it taste good That's what makes it fresh What would we do without it? -Grace C

Barbaric Yawp!

The soil seems to be Simple. Just brown powder, At first glance.

But then, You think. What goes into the soil? Here's your answer: Dead things.

If dead things go into the soil, Then what is this brown powder? That is the mystery. Only nature, The Circle of Life, Can perform such wonderful feats As this.

Every day, A leaf falls, An animal falls prey, Somewhere in the world. They become one Through soil. The seemingly meaningless Brown powder.

Man cannot make soil

In our science labs and such. It's impossible. Only Mother Nature's smallest creatures Can create this life-giver Known as soil.

-Rebecca C

One Wild and Precious Life

Was the world created purposely? Or was it an accident? What if everything around us Was just a coincidence? Did, in the beginning of Earth, Bacteria evolve accidentally Into plants? Into animals? Into the birds whose singing I hear now? Above me, the glowing sun shines through the swaying palm leaves. Was it, too, created by accident? To think that This smell of life was never meant to be? This leathery leaf in front of me And the roof surrounded by trees in the distance, Maybe wouldn't have become tangible? The dirt, stirring gently from my steady breath, Might not be here if the past changed somehow. People in the future Where there is no life, Might wonder why the green things are gone. And if we don't save our Earth now, "Now" could become the tragic event Where all the green life Ceased to be.

-Rebecca C


People say I am too erratic and bitter I howl my battle cry upon the highest mountain The light of day shines upon me I am dauntless I sink in the warm sand, letting every grain sink in my clothes The thrashing waves push me violently through a storm The air picks up my body with its intricate talons, my hair floating gently You find pieces of me prodded gently by the tide I have become the sand -Ellie F

“One Wild Precious Life�

Above me, a fabric nasturtium leaf engulfs me into a soothing darkness The world is fluorescent with a blazing sun and a lukewarm breeze On my right, an odor of a weeping iris overcomes me like a falling angel A magic ball drives me into a trace of colors Birds chirp and a banshee call of a small child faintly rings in my ears Fields of purple pinecones bloom within a gated lot The individual flowers dash themselves in deep purple with violent white streaks The plume of tiny flowers crumble upon my shoes The slowly disintegrating scent drowns me into a pool of soap A grassy scent explodes when my hands tore at the blade A static noisemaker dressed in wings and black violently zips across my face Lightning strikes my eyes My life is in a trance -Ellie F

Our trip!

Pictures by: Grace C, Sophie G, and Mr. Cross

These pictures are from places on our campus and from our field trips. I chose these pictures to represent our trip because they stood out to me the most, all the amazing plants and flowers that the soil nurtures. I tried to capture the light in all of the plants. The light shows the interesting shapes within the plant, it also highlights it and shows the beauty of them. In the collage there are also pictures of the activities we did. In one of them, I am digging. We planted a rain garden. We had to dig and get muddy during that activity. In the next picture we were working with petri dishes and getting different samples to see were organisms and bacteria grow.

History Of Arlington Garden At the corner of Arlington Drive and Pasadena Avenue is one of the most intriguing gardens in California. That garden is Arlington Garden. This beautiful garden was a vacant Caltrans site for 40 years waiting for the construction of the 710 freeway. Eventually Pasadena’s only dedicated garden sprung forth that showed us how effective yet striking Mediterranean climate garden can be. It all began 10 years ago (in 2003), when the city and Caltrans began talking about how they could utilize the three-acre site. The lot at the time housed only two old oak trees, a jacaranda, a California Pepper, and five different types of Palm trees. A Councilmember named Steve Madison asked the community what type of public development should be put on the site. The most of the community wanted to be a rather peaceful development, without any playfields, parking lots, or public restrooms. However, people didn’t say what should be developed at the site. Then, a woman named Betty McKenney proposed an idea about a Mediterranean garden. This was a good idea because we could use less water, and most of the plants can endure through tough weather conditions. The garden would also bring serenity and happiness to visitors. The idea was agreed upon, but most people waited for others to make the first move. So, Mckenny started it off.

Since then, the McKenneys have already planted about 400 trees, as well as wide-ranging varieties of plants that do well in all conditions throughout the year. Eventually the garden installed benches, pots, paths, along with plenty of tables and chairs. In October 8, 2010, sophomores at Mayfield Senior School built a Classical 7 Circuit Labyrinth that is impossible for anyone to get lost. Arlington garden continues to bring serenity, happiness, and a learning experience to all. By Ellie F

Profile of a Westridge Tree Here is my drawing of an Oak tree in front of our school gym. I sat outside in the middle of the grass and drew this. It was a little bit awkward just sitting there. It was hard to color in the picture. Even though this tree doesn’t have that much leaves, there were still a lot to color. The Oak tree I drew is dead sadly. One of the people from the Arboretum told us that it has been here for a really long time. But, since people have put in a lawn it has ruined the tree. It has been overwatered. I decided to draw the tree because it was huge and it stood out to me when I went outside. By Grace C

LETTERS FROM THE EDITORS Dear Reader, In this issue, we celebrate the things we did and learned about in the Soil Unit. When I started, I thought all we will talk about soil. Actually, we did many soil-related activities that included some gardening, poetry writing, and creating this special issue of our beloved magazine. We also learned about the importance of soil on Earth, and the risk of soil damage. I had originally thought soil was just nothing, but I was wrong. Soil is what gave food and oxygen through plants and animals. Without the soil, humans and other organisms would die out. Now, that scared me. Finally, the thing that captivated me the most was the magic of Fibonacci’s numbers. I learned that his numbers connect with nature in a very strange way; one example is that the number of spirals in a coneflower is equal to 89, which is one of Fibonacci’s numbers. , our class had six 32 minute workshops with professional botanists and gardeners. We replenished our campus with a beautiful rain garden, and an herb garden. I also walked around campus with some friends, and learned about some of the trees on campus. I learned about unhealthy trees vs. healthy trees. Then, our teacher asked us to point out which trees were healthy, or unhealthy. We wrapped up the walk by climbing up our famous “Ranney Tree”. We also had a lesson on compost. There, we spotted a nematode, and observed worms. There was tons of shrieking in that session. The messiest and the final session was making seed balls. There, we made fresh clay, and mixed it with poppy seeds. In the end, we were left with very filthy hands. Finally, I hope that you enjoyed this special issue of Slime TM, and felt this experience the same way I did. Thanks for reading! Sincerely, Elizabeth F.

Dear Readers, The past week and a half has been a very fun process in learning about soil and making our magazines. As a class, we went on various field trips and did many activities. We went to two gardens in our Pasadena area. We walked to both of them. We first went to Arlington Gardens. It was much bigger than it appeared. It is three acres and there are over four hundred trees. We did a science activity with petri dishes, an English activity were we wrote a poem, we learned about the Arlington Gardens and walked through a Labyrinth with Ms. Bizar, and we did out tree poses with Ms. McCabe. The next day, we went to another garden. We were all expecting it to be similar to Arlington. Instead was an unpleasant looking field of dirt and weeds. We helped pick the weeds, and the people there have been planning were to put the plants. I bet when it’s all done it will look great! There have been a lot of challenges. We went to Arlington Garden; there were lots of bees everywhere. Despite the fact they help our flowers, I had always thought of them as just another thing to be scared of. Then, we went to the future site of the Pasadena Community Garden. That garden had a plethora of mosquitos and itchy weeds. We did many of the activities at school as well. We conquered a treacherous morning hike near Descanso Gardens, and then we went into the garden. It was stunningly beautiful! I took many pictures at the garden and I didn’t want to leave that place behind. Later that day, some people from the Arboretum came and we did rotations. We helped plant herbs, other plants, made a compost bin, went on a tree walk, and made seed balls. Overall the soil unit was pretty fun and I had a great time. -Grace C.

Dear Reader, I’ll have you know that we all had so much fun creating the Slime™ Magazine. The “Organism of the Year” issue is an accumulation of our work in our school’s Soil Unit. We learned so much about soil and how it is truly the mother of all life. On the first day, we learned of the Soil Magazine project. We learned that out issue would be the “Organism of the Year.” We also learned about Victory Gardens, community gardens that started during World War I. Victory Gardens are making a comeback now, due to the economy crash. On day two, we walked to Arlington Garden. We collected various soil samples to find out what kinds of soil have different microorganisms. We also walked through a labyrinth and did tree pose next to trees. On day three, we read stories about how everything can turn into compost. We also created our own Propaganda Posters about Victory Gardens. On the fourth day, we worked on our magazines and finished our posters. On day five, we learned about how the Fibonacci sequence is in almost all components in nature. The numbers 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13… make it up. Day six was definitely the most fun. We made worm bins (a specialized type of compost bin), planted rain gardens and herb gardens, and took home strawberry plants, seed bombs, and newspaper pots. I loved planting things and getting my hands dirty. Overall, the Soil Unit was one of the most fun school units I’ve done. I loved learning about compost and planting native gardens. I also had so much fun creating this magazine, and I hoped you enjoyed it! Sincerely, Rebecca C.

Soil Ellie Grace Rebecca  

Soil Magazine 2013