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Birmingham City Schools host science fair at the Gardens

published: 02/14/2017

Last week, Birmingham City Schools held its' annual Science Fair at Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Approximately 200 elementary and middle school students participated in the following categories: biology, chemistry, environmental and earth science, physical science and engineering. The winners this year are below.

Biology

1. Benjamin Barnett - "Osmosis in Eggs" - Huffman Middle School.

2. Connor Gaines - "Taste as Good as it Smells" - Smith Middle School.

3. Jeremiah Brown - "Preventing Mold" - W.J. Christian School.

Chemistry

1. Devyn Cook - "How Fast Will it Fizz?" - Huffman Middle School.

2. Amro Nasser - "Pants on Fire" - Huffman Middle School.

3. Jimyce Watson - "Antacid Potency" - Green Acres Middle.

Environmental and Earth Science

1. Hailey Burnett - "Homemade Water Filter" - Hayes K-8.

2. Jaxson Jones - "Why Doesn't the Ocean Freeze in Water?" - South Hampton K-8.

3. Nikolas Barnes - "The Effect of Grey Water on Plant Growth" - W.J. Christian School Physical

Science

1. Briyanna Brownlee - "Circus Circuiting" - W.J. Christian School.

2. Isaiah Wrenn - "Lights Camera Action" - Phillips Academy.

3. Lakoria Williams - "Ball Drop" - Wylam K-8.

Engineering

1. Aaliyah Shabazz & Azaria LaVender - "Stop Flooding" - W.J. Christian School.

2. Vince Jackson - "Tornado Safety in Schools" - W. J. Christian School.

3. Lauryn Green - "Ice, Ice Baby" - W.J. Christian School.

Best of Show

Briyanna Brownlee - "Circus Circuiting" - W.J. Christian School.


To learn more about all of the educational opportunities The Gardens has to offer, we encourage you to visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on Instagram. You can subscribe to the award-winning Dirt E-Lert, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, by simply texting BBGARDENS to 22828.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama's largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens' 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Education programs run year round and more than 11,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.


Weekend classes celebrate Valentine's Day at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

published: 02/08/2017

Weekend classes celebrate Valentine's Day at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Sandor Katz is a fermentation revivalist that was raised in New York, but 24 years ago, he relocated to Cannon County, Tennessee, just Southeast of Nashville. He is the author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation, and he will visit Birmingham Botanical Gardens in March to discuss and demonstrate the craft. His lecture will take place March 10 from 6-8 p.m. and can be combined with his first workshop, which takes place on March 11 from 9-noon. An advanced workshop will also be offered on March 11 from 2-5 p.m.

To reserve a seat, visit www.bbgardens.org/classes.

Why were you first drawn to fermentation?

There were a few steps to my interest developing. Like almost every person in almost every part of the world, I grew up with flavors of fermentation; certain flavors of fermentation, I was always drawn to - like pickles. I grew up in New York City eating what we call sour pickles. That was just a favorite flavor of mine, but no one was talking about fermentation; I wasn't watching my grandmother do it or anything like that. For a couple of years in my mid-twenties, I was following a macrobiotic diet. One of the aspects of macrobiotics was that they placed a great deal of emphasis on the digestive benefit of pickles and other live cultured foods. I started noticing that - these pickles that I had been eating all of my life - when I would eat them or, even now when I think about them or talk about them, my salivary glands start to squirt out saliva. In a very tangible way, I started associating these foods with getting my digestive juices flowing - quite literally. But really what got me trying out fermentation and trying out fermentation was when I moved from New York City to rural Tennessee in 1993. I got involved in keeping a garden, and I was such a naive city kid that I had never thought about the idea that in a garden, you get all of your cabbages ready around the same time; you get all of your radishes ready around the same time. Suddenly, the practical aspect of these fermented vegetables was manifest for me. I learned how to make sauerkraut and I learned how to make pickles and then I started investigating other realms of fermentation. I learned how to make yogurt and how to make bread using a sourdough using leavening; playing around with wine - making some elderberry wine and some blackberry wine. Within a year, I was obsessed with all things fermented and grew to become interested in learning about fermenting processes from all over the world.

Why has fermentation grown to become such a trend recently?

I would challenge that a little bit. Fermentation gives us bread, cheese, beer, wine, chocolate, vanilla, cured meats, vinegar and other condiments - I would say that it's had a pretty enduring popularity. I don't think any of the products of fermentation have ever been obscure; they've always been at the center of our culinary practices and tastes. That said, the story of the 20th century is all about people becoming disconnected from their food and its production and how it's transformed. So over the course of the 20th century, while people kept eating products of fermentation, fewer and fewer people were connected to it, and I would say that two things happened around the end of the 20th century. One thing that happened is that after two solid generations of full embrace of convenience food, people started critiquing it and saying, "This food that is so abundantly available and so cheap and so convenient is nutritionally diminished. It's creating these new disease epidemics related to diet. Look at the methods of food mas production and how environmentally destructive they are. Look what it's done to the economics of our communities when we remove food production from the community." People wanted to understand their food more and wanted to be connected to their food. Once you start asking questions like this of your food and want to understand it more, fermentation is inevitably part of the answer; so many of the foods that are integral to our daily diet in all different parts of the world are products of fermentation. The other reason is from the emergence of microbiology until the end of the 20th century, bacteria were, in the popular imagination, associated exclusively with danger and disease and death. Around the new millennium in the emergence of these new scientific methods of genetic analysis, we started having the ability to study communities of bacteria rather than single bacteria propagated in a petri dish - the older style of studying bacteria - and there started to become a growing recognition of the importance of bacteria. In our healthy bodies, there are a trillion bacteria, and it turns out that they're important for al different aspects of our functionality. It turns out that most of us have diminished biodiversity in our gut because all of our contact to chemicals designed to destroy bacteria - so there became in interest in restoring bacteria and biodiversity in our bodies.

When did you first create "Sandorkraut?"

Once I learned how to create sauerkraut, that became a staple in my kitchen. Since that time - 24 years ago - I've probably not had a batch of sauerkraut going in my kitchen. So I kind of got a reputation among my friends and neighbors for always showing up with sauerkraut. That's how I earned that name; that was before I had really begun teaching.


To learn more about all of the educational opportunities The Gardens has to offer, we encourage you to visit our website, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and follow us on Instagram. You can subscribe to the award-winning Dirt E-Lert, our bi-weekly e-newsletter, by simply texting BBGARDENS to 22828.

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama's largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens' 67.5 acres contains more than 25 unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths. The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house. Education programs run year round and more than 11,000 school children enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.


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