Building Cob Ovens at Local Schools
By Nicole King
The Sustainable Living, Sustainable Learning team (slsquared.org) dove right into hands-on learning this past month. They started with some invaluable training from the esteemed Elke Cole (www.elkecole.com), a teacher with over 20 years of natural building expertise and experience. Elke spent time with the team explaining to them the process and method for building cob ovens.
Using their newfound knowledge, the team began their community hands-on instruction and co-operation at Mill Bay Nature School (natureschool.sd79.bc.ca). Over the period of three days, they spent time with rotating groups of kindergarten to grade 3 students digging, mixing, collecting rocks and producing cob in order to complete the base and top of the school’s new Cob Pizza Oven. A lot of dirty clothes and hands went into the creative process and a fabulous time was had by both the SL Squared team and the kids that they got to create memories with!
Mill Bay Nature School’s oven base is built on a large rubber truck tire and filled with rocks and sand that was collected on-site. The cob portion of the oven was completed and the drying process ongoing to be finished later next month with the final layer of plaster and design.
The team then moved onto Discovery School (discovery.sd79.bc.ca) where with the help of several groups of teachers and students, they built a stone base for their Cob Pizza Oven. The base was made from salvaged urbanite, along with rocks collected on site by the students and team members. The team will be returning to the school shortly to complete the cob cover of the oven.
The team attended a fun and informative meeting at Frances Kelsey high school (fkss.sd79.bc.ca) They met with a group of art students and faculty in the school’s amazing art studio. They explained the procedure of making a cob oven and went over some final design options with the art students. The art department at Frances Kelsey is very impressive, and with the obviously talented students involved, the SL Squared team is really excited to move onto the actual physical building of the oven at the school in the upcoming weeks.
All in all, it was a very successful and muddy month! With even more prospects for teaching, learning, and hands-on community co-operation it looks like even more exciting and inspiring times are to come.