HANDFULS OF PROMISE – Fourth- and fifth-graders at Bridges Charter School hold packets  of California poppy seeds. The students put together 1,000 packets of seeds and handed them out in the community to help spread the growth of the colorful flowers after the recent fires. “It’s going to make us happier, like ‘Oh, we can get through this,” said Cyra Tolle, 10. Photos by RICHARD GILLARD/Acorn Newspapers

The seeds of California poppies may be small, but students at Bridges Charter School in Thousand Oaks are hoping they’ll have a big impact come spring.

In response to the devastating fires that robbed the Conejo Valley’s hillsides of their golden color, fourth- and fifth-graders at the school on Calle Bougainvillea planted and distributed poppy seeds throughout Thousand Oaks to spread color and recovery to a devastated landscape.

During the month of December, students hand-folded 1,000 small envelopes, each of which held 10 seeds. Then students passed them out to friends and neighbors to be planted in pots, flower beds and garden plots where they had permission to do so.

Fifth-grader Callan Kluck- Hodgins packed 16 seed packets. His classmate, Diana Graves, packed 20. Fourth-grader River Wilson packed 21.

Fourth-grader Cyra Tolle helped fold and fill 48 seed packets. The 10-year-old said she thinks the poppies’ bright orange color will lift spirits when they bloom.

“It’s going to make us happier, like ‘Oh, we can get through this,’” she said.

Bridges director Kelly Simon said the poppy-seed project is part of a larger instructional focus on nature, science, health and sustainability. Bridges students have also researched which type of native milkweed is best for monarch butterfly populations, and they’ve learned about the use of human gut bacteria to balance damaged immune systems.

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