The Kids of Ring Mountain are passionate, enthusiastic, smart, articulate and extremely knowledgable about the plants and flowers that grow there. Ring Mountain Open Space Reserve is in the “backyard” of Marin Country Day School in Corte Madera. With its sweeping 360 degree views of Marin and the bay, this 367 acre preserve has captured the hearts and loving focus of these MCDS 4th graders. They there, study the plants and help restore the habitat of “their mountain.”
One by one, eight 4th graders stood up in front of a group of children and adults in the Corte Madera Library children’s room to share their knowledge of the plants on Ring Mountain. Research came from books, and up close and personal interactions with “their plants” on the mountain.
However, the real fun began after the presentation, when I asked them what they enjoyed most about the Ring Mountain plant project. They all huddled around me, and eagerly shard their passion for their projects. The Kids of Ring Mountain had a lot to say:
Ten-year-old Elise said, “I liked reading in front of the audience. It was a lot of fun!” Classmate Haley added, “I liked learning so much about the different plants!” Haley’s twin sister, Ana, chimed in, “I liked hiking on Ring Mountain and seeing and learning about my plant… I really liked coming here and telling everyone about what all the plants were about.”
Then with lots of excitement, they told me about the projects they were currently working on. Ziri explained, “We are doing a service learning project and one group is making an app, and the group I’m in is making a board game with facts to teach people about the plants.”
Elise continued, “I am doing my service learning project with Ana. It’s a restoration project. We’re organizing a day to pick purple needle grass and collect the seeds… and pull French broom.”
Ziri added, “We have this day once a year and each grade goes for about an hour and a half and pulls French broom or any invasive plants.”
Ella shared about her service project, “My group is working on a newspaper and one person in the group is pretending that the plants can talk… and I’m writing an article about the plant… and some people are making comics and another person is making ads of all the other groups…”
Haley proudly said, “And I’m taking a guided tour of 2nd graders from the school across the way, Marin Montessori, and we’re going to teach (them) about 10 different plants.”
Another child added, “And I’m making a piece of paper where I am putting names of plants and what they look like, so when people go on Ring Mountain they can see and identify the plants… sort of like a plant guide.”
It was obvious that these 4th graders were filled with excitement about their past, present and future Ring Mountain projects. They were looking forward to working with their classmates and friends on their varied creative endeavors. When children enjoy what they are doing they proceed with enthusiasm, focus and inspiration.
The Kids of Ring Mountain are like the Tiburon Mariposa Lilies, found on the upper slopes of this magical preserve… and nowhere else on earth!
Until next Wednesday, remember, it is all “for the love of kids…”
In joy, Marilyn