Native Plant Learning Garden
Have you ever wondered about the plants all around you?
Students in our school are already planning on expanding our native plant garden by adding these plants and a walking path in our little forest area. We will be planting on March 29th! Our class is researching each of these species and wants to add labels to each type of plant so that our garden can become an interactive learning garden for the entire school community to enjoy.
You can impact an entire school and possibly future generations by helping us display labels for the vegetation in our native plant garden- Garry oaks, sword fern, kinnikinnik, nootka rose, salal, and flowering current.
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The students at Broad View Elementary School are at it again- making their school even greener. Recycling, composting and growing flowers weren’t enough. Now, they’ve installed a native plant learning garden. They spread cardboard and twenty two cubic feet of mulch and planted a variety of native plants by a stand of stressed Douglas firs. They added labels and information so you can learn about what they planted and the organizations that helped.
The “Treecology” project involved over 100 students directly. Our goal was to restore our native plant garden to create undergrowth to help our stressed Douglas fir trees. Our Art teacher, got a grant from Oak Harbor Education Foundation. The Garry Oak Society presented information so students learned why these trees are so special. Third graders performed an audit. Second graders researched native plants. Fourth graders did extensive research about photosynthesis and mapped the area and designed the garden.
Our Garden and Sustainability Teacher on Special Assignment got a grant for irrigation, installed by our district’s grounds crew for our native plant garden and other areas (our rain garden and garden beds were installed last year). Our after-school student garden club spread cardboard to prevent grass and weeds from competing with the new vegetation. Then, they spread twenty two cubic feet of mulch and used the rocks dug up from the irrigation project to create a pathway through the garden.
We elicited adult volunteers for a planting day. Over 75 students planted. The Garry Oak Society put in a tree with roots that were at least two feet deep and protected it with special fencing so deer won’t eat it. This Green Apple Day of Service allowed us to get double sided easels to make this a learning garden. In addition to information about the plants and glacial erratic, we have a question on one side with the answer on the other side. We also added QR codes to acknowledge the groups that helped us: Whidbey Island Conservation District, the Garry Oak Society and the Oak Harbor Education Foundation.
The fourth grade class worked with the second grade class to make stepping stones- a lasting touch in the garden. The impact of this project will be felt by our entire student body as well as our surrounding community.
Our art teacher, Nicolette Harrington explained, “This project was important to help the existing trees by providing undergrowth and to help students learn about native plants.”
The school’s green leader and teacher, Sarah Hart said, “Washington Green Schools certification is important to celebrate the hard work over 100 students put into this project and others making our school grounds and gardens welcoming learning areas.”