Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



The school held its annual Roots Day to work, harvest and celebrate all they have put into the school garden

PIONEER PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - MRA students gather around the bonfire to conclude their annual Roots Day Oct. 31.The rain did not relent on PIONEER PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - A praying mantis hangs out with students on MRA's grounds.Wednesday, Oct. 31, but that didn't stop staff, students and parents at Molalla River Academy from closing out their annual Roots Day with a celebratory bonfire.

Students traded in their usual uniforms for outdoor clothes Wednesday, and the school grounds were all set up for Roots of Responsibility Day, a yearly celebration for the MRA community.

"Roots Day grew out of our desire to acknowledge and honor the hard work and dedication of our initial garden leadership group," said MRA librarian and garden coordinator Iva Quinlan. "Our day encompasses learning through our garden and through service to our school and community."

Throughout the year, MRA students, staff and parents pitch in to maintain their elaborate garden and to keep the grounds looking beautiful and unique. On Roots Day, they all put their hands together to prepare the grounds for winter and to enjoy the fruits of the labor at various stations.

The hands-on learning stations were created and led by the school's Alder classes, which is comprised of fifth and sixth grade students.

Among the stations was an apple drying station, led by Alder students Laura, Eli and Cooper.

Laura said her favorite thing about Roots Day is, "definitely that we're all working as a community and working to make our campus better."

PIONEER PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - The MRA community cleans up their garden on Wednesday, Oct. 31.

Another station was a smoothie bike activity, where students learned what ingredients make up smoothies and the value of physical activity for healthy bodies. There was also a fruit/veggie wheel, a popcorn station, raspberry lemonade creation and more.

Some stations, including the popcorn station, utilized ingredients grown in their own garden. Students grew corn on school property, dried the kernels and made kettle corn for everyone to enjoy.

The success of the garden and Roots Day is largely thanks to Quinlan, who sees the value in kids being connected to nature and gardening.

"The crossover in the brain of what happens enhances all other academic areas," Quinlan said. "To have kids know what a carrot seed looks like, and then to plant it, to eat it; they're much more likely to eat vegetables and try new things."

After the kids visited every station, beginning bucket drummers welcomed everyone in the school to a bonfire beneath drizzly skies to finish the day.

Kristen Wohlers
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