Beating drums and planting trees were part of the Evergreen Sixth Grade Academy school curriculum Monday afternoon as squad of modern-day Johnny Appleseeds taught about sustainability.
By traveling in a caravan of vegetable oil-powered vehicles, cooking their food in solar ovens and planting thousands of trees, the 25 volunteers of Common Vision taught students about sustainability. The group's sixth-annual tour performed puppet shows, drum circles and planted trees at its Paradise stop, Common Vision Education Director Michael Flynn said.
The puppet shows taught the students about climate change, while the drumming and singing introduced them to "eco hip hop," he said. The curriculum is part of the ongoing sustainability curriculum at the school, teachers said. Monday's lesson was about the changes the students can make in their lives to recycle, reduce and reuse, Flynn said. Eleven trees were planted at the school Monday, Flynn said.
Normally, Common Vision cruises to urban areas but Paradise was a great stop because the school had enough room to plant a lot of trees, Flynn said. Teacher Greg Holman said the school has plans for fencing, pheromones and other creative techniques to keep deer out and the fruit in. Children planting the trees said they learned about grafting trees, cell growth and about pollution.
Abbey McNeilly said she learned the trees could outlive her and would be producing fruit in five years. Common Vision came to Paradise with a fleet of solar powered and recycled vegetable oil sipping bio-busses. According to a press release it's the largest known caravan of its kind and carries more than 1,000 bare-root fruit trees, 75 drums and an army of 25 modern-day Johnny Appleseeds.
Common Vision's vision is to include children in gardening making them more likely to eat fruits and veggies. It also provides schools with their own orchards to ensure students will have access to fresh fruits for years.
The goal of this annual tour was to develop student-teacher relationships and to integrate sustainability and nutrition into the youth's school day. Founded in 1999, the non-profit Common Vision has planted thousands of fruit trees with tens of thousands of low-income students from Sacramento to San Diego.
Monday's trip to Paradise was brought to Butte County in part by the Chico State University, Chico Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion. Evergreen Six also raised its own funds.