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March 3, 2016
Green Our Planet Partners With the Non-Profit, Los Vaqueros, to Expand Gardens and Hydroponic Systems at CCSD Schools
In February, Green Our Planet began a new partnership with the local Las Vegas non-profit, Los Vaqueros. Los Vaqueros is a social mens' club, whose members are dedicated to helping improve education in the Clark County School District. The organization is composed of many CEOs of local corporations, quite a few of which are in the construction industry. Since 2009, Los Vaqueros has turned its members many talents to increasing the number of school gardens in the CCSD, both through fundraising efforts and through garden construction. Los Vaqueros has also begun a hydroponics' program for schools, which can work in a complementary fashion to traditional raised bed gardens outside. By combining the two organizations' talents and resources, the new partnership is aimed at increasing the number and diversity of learning gardens available at CCSD schools.According to Justin Anderson, board member of Los Vaqueros, "Together, Green Our Planet and Los Vaquero will be much more effective at what we were doing independently. And in the end lt is the students in the CCSD who will benefit." 
From Left to Right: Ben Parks, President of the Board of Los Vaqueros; Ciara Byrne, Co-CEO of Green Our Planet; Mike Carroll and Justin Anderson, Board Members of Los Vaqueros standing before new garden beds at Beckley Elementary School. Los Vaqueros installed a hydroponics system at the school, while Green Our Planet and Garden Farms partnered on creating the raised garden beds which were sponsored by SN Health District and Las Vegas Green Community.
Meet Our New Board Of Directors
2016 has ushered in both a new year and also a new board of directors at Green Our Planet. We're very excited about the new board, which brings together a select group of Las Vegans, all leaders in their industries and all dedicated to Green Our Planet's mission of helping to improve STEAM education locally and to raise funding for green projects, locally, nationally and internationally. The new board members are:
 

Patrick Hughes

President of the Fremont Experience

Kristi Overgaard

Partner and Executive Vice President of Awesomeness at Switch

John Travis

CEO of Control Power Concepts

Mark Rowland

CEO of the Downtown Project and Roceteers

Wendy Cashin

Corporate Controller, JBA Engineering

Jon Guy

Retired Philanthropy Advisor

Deanna Pettit-Irestone

Executive Director of Public Relations, Wynn Resorts

Joe Ganley

Senior Litigation Partner with the Firm of Hutchison & Steffen

Green Our Planet Celebrates its 3rd Year Anniversary By Building its 80th School Garden In the CCSD
Above: A snapshot of the 80 gardens Green our Planet and Garden Farms have collaborated on since March, 2013 (the green flags represent finished gardens; the red flags represent current funding campaigns)

Three years ago, Green Our Planet launched itself as a non-profit conservation organization based in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's mission was and remains to help educate the public about the environment, help improve STEAM education in CCSD schools, and to help raise funds for green projects, which includes school gardens. Three years after its launch, and with the partnership of Garden Farms and many other for-profit and non-profit organizations in Las Vegas, Green Our Planet helped raise the funds for its 80th school garden at Staton Elementary School, which Garden Farms installed.
Spotlight On: Scott Tafflin, Music Teacher Who Writes Garden Songs
Above: Music Teacher, Scott Taflin, and students performing Garden Song at Wendell Williams' Elementary School
 
Scott Taflin has been the Music Specialist at Wendell Williams Elementary School for 2 years. He teaches music to every grade level. A year ago, Wendell Williams put in a 14-bed garden at the school sponsored by the Consumer Electronics Association. Soon afterwards, Scott began attending the weekly garden workshops provided by a farmer from Garden Farms. Not long after that, Scott and his students began singing in the new garden. At first, Scott just used echo patterns that related to the things the students were doing in the garden. As the garden has progressed, the music has developed along with the plants. 
 
The following is a song that Scott wrote and performed with his students this year. Below the lyrics is a link to a video that shows Scott and the students singing:
 
We are Planters
By Scott Taflin
 
(sung to the tune of “Frere Jacques”)
 
We are planters, (echo)
We are planters, (echo)
Planting seeds! (echo)
Planting seeds! (echo)
Watch our garden grow, (echo)
Watch our garden grow, (echo)
Yes, indeed!  (echo)
 
Yes, indeed!  (echo)
 
To watch the video, click here
 
Garden Tip
Prepping The Garden For Spring

By Tiffany Whisenant, General Manager of Garden Farms

 
 
It may have happened. That groundhog may be right, the flowers are starting to show themselves because, it may have happened. Spring may just be here.

I'd love to sing it from the rooftops, but I don't dare. Many gardeners are anxious this time of year, hopeful that the soil will soon be warm enough, that there won't be a late freeze, that we can get just one step ahead of those pesky pests and finally get some spring seeds in the ground!!! Ssshhh.....

For now, focus on harvesting your winter veggies and make room for the abundance of spring. Brassicas like cabbage, brussel sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli and cauliflower will begin to flower soon if not harvested. Greens like lettuce, arugula, bok choy and spinach may do the same. Planting bolt-resistant varieties helps to extend your season; some of our favorites are Di Cicco broccoli and long-standing Bloomsdale spinach.

It is okay to leave winter root crops like beets, carrots, turnips and radishes in the ground for awhile until you're ready to harvest, but remember these will flower too. Pictured are a few beets I picked and began to process. The beet on the right had not yet gone to flower, as the beet on the left had. Notice how woody the beet on the left is. It began to use the reserves stored in the root to go about the important job of producing flowers. This changes taste and texture to something hardly reminiscent of a beet, and I ended up composting it.

Warm spring wishes to you, fellow anxious gardeners!
Crestwood Elementary Expands Outdoor Garden Classroom As Part Of Earth Day 2 Million
Earth Day 2 Million has begun with Crestwood Elementary's expansion of their garden this past Saturday. The school removed 4,000 square feet of grass and replaced it with an early learning garden for their Pre K and Kindergarten classes, plus a number of fruit trees. As a result, the school will save over 200,000 gallons of water per year! Thanks to all the amazing community partners who made this possible - Owen & Marty Carver, the SN Water Authority, Los Vaqueros, Jessica Penrod of Great Basin Permaculture, Garden Farms, Whole Foods Market, Home Depot, the Downtown Rangers and all the amazing teachers at Crestwood especially Juliana Urtubey, Vince Ortiz, Chelsie Pate, Christine King, Principal Richardson and the wonderful parents and students who worked hard to make the new pollinator/bee garden beautiful. 
 
Students, parents and teachers added new murals to the garden area.
Senior garden coordinator Bonnie Cooper of Green Our Planet has been working with Crestwood's garden project now for nearly two years.
Student artists fill in a drawing of giant flower on one of Crestwood's walls.
Students, teachers, parents and other volunteers all showed up and pitched in.
Volunteer members of the non-profit, Los Vaqueros, along with Crestwood teacher Juliana Urtubey (second from left), taking a break.
Some of the finished product: garden beds, permaculture area, (white) worm towers, white board, student seating, compost area, washing up table, fruit trees, and a whole host of colorful murals.
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