It was a day of mixed reviews and two very different environments. The older kids visited the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant on the west side of the city and the younger kids traveled down the Peninsula to the Pulgas Water Temple in Redwood City.
While the older kids learned about the cycle of wastewater in San Francisco…
…the younger kids enjoyed the sun and the green of Redwood City.
They examined objects in jars…
…and the glassy green of algae in the pond.
Both groups waited patiently for exciting things to think about.
And talked about the wildlife of both habitats: fish at the treatment plant…
…and a game of vole, kite, and Cooper’s hawk.
There was a break and preparation for the next activity, including hair nets and helmets…
…and a group discussion.
In-the-field experts helped make things clearer.
I think it’s safe to say that the smells on both trips were rather different.
The older kids vehemently proclaimed the wastewater treatment plant as a let’s-never-do-that-again. Henry wrote in his journal, “Today’s field trip was the epitome of all greed and evil. To start the list of horrors that dared to call itself fun was the stench. It smelled like a mixture of poop and sewage….Oh boy, touring through a smelly hole labeled ‘solid waste,’ where any common person with common sense wouldn’t have opened the door…” To be fair, though, they were interested in the treatment process and the steps that wastewater must take to be cleaned and sent back to the ocean clean. Ben was stunned that the whole system is based on gravity’s pull. Zada had never appreciated clean air so much.
The younger kids determined that the vole, kite, and Cooper’s hawk game to be their favorite, and also delighted in telling each other scary stories about murderous dolls and ghosts. They also liked being able to talk to the great Tim, an expert they met by chance at the water temple because he was taking out the trash. And it all comes full circle.
The first day. The first year.
The space was miraculously clean overnight.
Happy birthday and happy first day, Gever!
The tables were ready for drawing and lunch.
The first morning circle.
The kids lost no time and explored the neighborhood, including the MUNI bus depot just up the street…
…some weird things…
and the local fauna…
…before becoming sunscreen warriors and heading inside for lunch.
They made a human maze out of masking tape…
…with warnings of peril ahead.
They flew across Google Earth.
What an amazing first day.
And we get to do it again tomorrow!