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Green in Action Honorary Mention

Ashton Elementary Go Green Club

Sarasota, FL


This was the first year for Ashton's Go Green Club.  We met twice a month after school beginning in October.  Our year began with a brainstorming session on how we could make a difference at our school.  The students expressed interest in doing a soil study, gardening, and making solar ovens.  We began our amazing "Go Green Journey" back in November when we conducted a soil study to determine the best location on campus to plant a garden.  The soil study involved the use of microscopes to determine the amount of sand in each sample.  This helped us to find the best location for our garden.

With our location selected we then had to decide what we were going to plant.  Since the students also wanted to make solar ovens this year they decided to plant a pizza garden where they would be growing fresh produce to put on their pizzas.  In January we prepared our garden and then planted two types of tomato plants, bell peppers, scallions, chives, basil and oregano.  We were very fortunate that a local nursery, Troy's Tropics, donated our plants.

With the garden growing we began to research our solar ovens.  We spent one meeting researching, one planning and then three building our solar ovens.  Due to the fact that these would be our first solar ovens we thought it would be a good idea to purchase the ready-made pizza crusts so that all we had to do was create ovens hot enough to melt the shredded cheese.

As our 14 solar ovens began to take shape, the garden was coming right along.  Our garden produced awesome tomatoes and bell peppers.  The scallions were brilliant and the spices were divine.

During our National Green Week, Monday May 12th, 2014, we invited our parents to join us as we created our own pizzas using our fresh garden produce.  The students placed their pizza bread on a paper plate covered with foil.  They then spread pizza sauce over the bread.  Next they added their choice of toppings that all came from our garden (except the cheese.)  They selected from chopped tomatoes, scallions and peppers, along with fresh basil, chives and oregano.  To top it off we covered it with shredded cheese.  Then the students placed their pizzas in their ovens that had been warming up outside for several hours. 

The students all had thermometers in their ovens, some of the ovens reached temperatures over 170 degrees Fahrenheit.  Having the ovens reach these temperatures made the students feel good about their designs of their solar ovens.

It took about 30 minutes for the cheese to melt and then we all enjoyed delicious pizza that not only tasted great, but smelled like "pizza parlor" pizza.

Our first year was very successful with the students learning a great deal about how to make wise choices concerning how we use our natural resources.  The students all have grand plans for next year's garden along with hew and improved solar oven designs.