I hope your school year is off to a great start! It’s an exciting time of year and a chance to start fresh, make some new friends, try new things, buy some new crayons, etc. I still love the smell of office supplies! (I’m a retired first grade teacher).
I want to introduce you to a fun program called Journey North. I have been participating in the tulip planting portion for many years and have planted bulbs with kids at schools all over Anchorage. Now, I encourage you to do the same!
Journey North Project
In this study everyone plants Red Emperor bulbs. They are also called Fosteriana Tulips. They are sturdy, produce large foliage, and are one of the first tulips to bloom in the Spring.
Here’s the blurb:
“In this international science experiment, students in schoolyards across the northern hemisphere plant tulip bulbs in their Journey North Test Gardens each Fall. When the plants emerge and bloom, children announce Springtime in their part of the world. Beginning in September, monthly updates will be posted on the Journey North site. Get ready to plant your Journey North Tulip Test Garden and track the arrival of Spring in your part of the world!”
All the plantings, the emergence of bulbs and the bloom times are recorded and plotted on a map where you can see Spring moving northward. Kids all over the world are doing this. Simply go to the website and start looking for a promising site at a school, day care center or other locale. There are some caveats intended to reap the best climactic information from your site. Remember tulips are moose candy here in Alaska, so they may need protection.
Last year students planted bulbs at several of our 21st Century Schools and had mixed results. At one school, the ground was frozen so we laid the tulips on the ground and covered them with several bags of spent coffee grounds. They grew in the Spring until someone dug them up!
This is really an easy science experiment to do, and I hope you will consider joining the fun! I’ve had teachers in other states become pen pals, as they are often curious about Alaska.
There is so much more to Journey North than tulips, though, so be sure to check out their website.