Grand opening of the Telluride Growing Dome is 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. today. Stop by to taste the fruits (and vegetables) of everyone’s labors.

IMG_2410The Growing Dome behind the Telluride High School celebrates its Grand Opening Wednesday, May 22. All are invited to come by after school for tours, discussions, inspiration – and tastes.

The dome is full of delicious greens and beautiful flower baskets as we transition from spring to summer. Greenhouse guardian guru Ramona Gaylord has been working to get every class from K-12 into the dome at least once before the end of the school year and it is an utter joy to see students inspired by the complete change of pace and change of scenery in this “living classroom.”

The Growing Dome came about through the happy collaboration of the school, EcoAction Partners, the Southwest Institute for Resilience, and the Telluride Medical Center Foundation.

Through the Carol M. White Physical Education Project (PEP) grant, obtained by the Medical Center, schools in our county became the beneficiaries of efforts to reduce childhood obesity by increasing physical activity and more. The “more” included a portion of the funding dedicated to nutrition in the school, with a small part of that tagged for the school garden or greenhouse projects.

IMG_2382With the funding boost and moral support we began the search for a greenhouse for Telluride – and the means to enhance the greenhouse at the Norwood School. Serendipity: a Ridgway resident needed to sell and move the dome she had in her back yard.

Many, many hours of hot work went into taking the dome down, moving it, and putting it back up in Telluride. That happened late last summer. Once erected, students from Julie Evans’ freshman health class put forth tremendous energy because the bricks to create the beds had to be hauled up the hill and put in place. Then the soil, compost, peat, and organic soil amendments had to be mixed. Bucket by heavy bucket the work transformed the empty dome into a beautiful garden, ready to plant. Science Seminar students and Mr. Hubbard’s 6th graders added their muscle too.

The first winter of the dome was a bit of an experiment. About the time we had to install a propane heater for those cold, cold nights, Ramona Gaylord stepped up to help. An avid gardener and a close neighbor, she and her family volunteered to tend to the heater to make sure the dome stayed as warm as it needed to be all winter long. The relationship with the Gaylords blossomed, and Ramona is now the greenhouse guardian, helping to schedule classes in the dome space, sharing science topics from genetics to beneficial insects and the edibility of kale flowers to all students, K-12.

Now that spring is here and the dome has proven itself it’s time for a celebration!

On Wednesday right after school, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., EcoAction Partners hosts the Grand Opening of the Telluride Growing Dome. Come by and see what’s growing, what students are learning, what our plans are for incorporating the dome into nearly every class. Best of all,  taste what the students get to eat when they visit!

This little miracle would not be possible without all the partners mentioned above, the support of the school, the special talents of Emo from the PEP grant, and especially each and every one of the Gaylord family.

Hope to see you there!

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