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A Permaculture Lesson -- Chassell HS
A Permaculture Lesson

April 28, 2012
CHASSELL - Science students at Chassell Township Schools received a lesson in permaculture Thursday before taking what they learned to the kindergarten students later in the day.

Most, if not all of the students in Mary Markham's science class, knew the answers fired their way by Michigan Technological University student Robert Richard and their science teacher.

Sitting among growing plants under lights throughout the classroom, the permaculture lesson taught by Richard seemed more of a refresher than a new lesson.

Richard, a student in biological sciences, was teaching the class as part of a project for his botany class at Michigan Tech and the timing couldn't have been more appropriate with students celebrating Earth Day/Week activities. The chosen topic was permaculture - ecological design system for sustainability in all aspects of human endeavor.
"We think about care for the Earth, care for the people and fair share," Richard told the class.

Richard started by walking the class through different designs and patterns for planting gardens to create the least amount of wear while also planting plants with specific needs in the right places, such as shade and full-sun plants.

"Topography is important for watersheds," he said. "You can use watersheds to create ponds."

After the lesson, which covered everything from garden zones and earthworms to polycultures and symbolic relationships, the students were told how they were going to help the kindergarten students how to plant a Three Sisters garden in a plastic container to take home.
The high school science class showed the kindergarten students how to plant three different plants that will grow in harmony together. Beans were planted with corn and pumpkin for the kids to take home and transplant to the ground as soon as the temperatures warm up. The corn stalk will act as a pole for the beans to grow up and the squash is important to keep the moisture down. Beans also fix nitrogen and all grow best together.

"Some cultures add a spicy pepper," Richard said.

By Stacey Kukkonen (skukkonen@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette

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