Improvements to the school grounds thanks to NBS grads

EmmaTree2

Many thanks to Emma Howe ’14 for a Golden Rain tree to provide shade and beauty, and to Trena Garland ’15 for the new swings for use by annex students.  Thanks also to Windridge Landscape for planting the tree and creating a new drain system at the school entrance.

TrenaSwings

By northbranchschool Posted in Alumni

Graduation 2015

Congratulations to our seven graduates! Here are a few photos from Tuesday’s ceremony. There are more to come, as well as a video, after I do some editing.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Olympics

It was the last Friday of the school year and time for the senior-sponsored biennial Olympics at North Branch. The heat was no match for the water, popsicles, and fun had by all the teams.

Budding artists

Margaret and Stuart inspired Wednesday group with the work of artist Andy Goldsworthy. The Scottish environmentalist is known for  creating site-specific sculpture and land art in a variety of settings from the woods to cities. The kids were able to explore the uses of natural and found materials, permanence, and function. Check it out!

A trip to Polyface Farm in Swoope

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The middle school toured Polyface Farm today. Thank you so much to the farm and to John, our informative and entertaining guide. Polyface has about 550 acres (100 of which are in pasture). The rest of the farm is either forested or protected creek and river sides. All of the acreage is free of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. The Salatin family has been farming the land for 54 years. When they first arrived, the soil was in such poor condition that it wouldn’t hold a fence post, so they used concrete-filled tires. There is no vet on staff – the animals are kept healthy through their diets and a clean environment. Problems are treated naturally: pig lice is treated with diatomaceous earth and worms are eliminated with charcoal. The animals are watered using a gravity-fed system that originates in catchment ponds on the nearby mountain. We ended our tour with the chickens. The chickens follow the cows, who are rotated into a new pasture every afternoon. After three days, the chickens are moved to the recently vacated pasture. They eat the flies and pests that are in a larval stage in the manure. This keeps the farm relatively free of pests and eliminates the needs for fly rub on the cows.  Last, but not least, we all enjoyed meeting Michael, the Anatolian guard dog.

A pair of folk songs

Last Friday’s assembly involved active participation on many levels from the students. The first song,  a Scottish folk piece called “The Skye Boat Song,” had audience members listening to the changes in music as the story of a fleeing prince played out from fear to relief. Then the Irish folk piece “The Rattlin’ Song” got the students outside and on their feet, singing and dancing about the circle of life.

The music of crickets

At last Friday’s assembly Kat and her students impressed the audience by recreating the sounds of nature to a fun song by Paul Carey and Oliver Twigge called “Peace On Earth…and lots of little crickets.” It tells the story of a boy who finds a cricket in his room and is convinced to keep it because it is good luck. Before long, the cricket gets lonely so the boy brings him a girlfriend. And then before long, there are many little crickets. The boy and his mother decide to share them with friends and enemies alike, bringing joy to all. Enjoy the song!