The Ben and Jerry’s Scoop Truck will stop at the Micheltorena campus to support a volunteer event for us on Saturday, May 28, from 10a to 1pm. Activities include mural painting in the kindergarten yard, miscellaneous garden activities, and trash pick-up around campus. The day will also include live music, and yes FREE ICE CREAM! The Micheltorena Garden will be also open during the event.
Something is always up at the Micheltorena Garden! On Saturday, May 6, Rafael Quezada of Waterswheel came to the garden to set up a donated Tower Garden. The tower garden utilizes “aeroponic” technology (originally developed by NASA to grow plants on Mars!) which enables crops to be grown in suspended columns without soil. According to www.waterswheel.org, “Vegetables and flowers of every kind grow faster (up to four harvests per season) and healthier (no insecticides needed, no heavy nitrogen fertilizer required) with less than 10% of freshwater and nutrients required by traditional, soil-based farming.”
The Tower Garden will utilize electricity from the garden’s new solar panel to run its system. We expect to have the solar panel up and running in a few weeks, and the Tower Garden will start up shortly after. You can see the Tower Garden as you walk by on the sidewalk in the western corner of the garden, and you can see more pictures of Tower Gardens at http://mytowergarden.com/photos.html
After the excitement of the Tower Garden set-up died down, we had another situation on our hands to deal with. At the beginning of the garden day, a City clean-up crew was at work on the sidewalk next to the garden. Their supervisor asked us if we could take care of an injured bird they found on the sidewalk below a tree earlier in the morning. We figured the bird would be better off with us than in their truck, so we said yes. We put the bird into a small cardboard box with some mulch and set it in a quiet part of the garden while we worked.
When the day came to an end, we had to figure out what to do with the little bird, who looked like he had hit his head pretty hard on landing. We decided to call the City Services number 311 and see if we could get some help from Animal Control. Lo and behold, Officer Weekley of Animal Control showed up shortly after we placed our call to help. After determining the bird was a pigeon, and sharing some facts with us about pigeons (pigeons don’t smell, they find food by sight; pigeons don’t eat worms, they eat grains; pigeons drink by plunging their beak into water and sucking it up like a straw, the only bird that does that!) he reassured us that he would take this pigeon home with him to recuperate. In fact, Officer Weekley is a pigeon fancier and keeps pigeons himself, who he says will act as “foster parents” to orphaned fledglings if set up with them.
He also shared some “war stories” from the Animal Control frontlines, like how to catch a stray dog (talk friendly and move fast), and some raccoon and opossum stories (did you know it is illegal in Los Angeles to trap a wild animal?) It was really great to meet such a friendly and dedicated city worker, and we hope he will come back to Micheltorena to share more stories with the students soon.