Friday, October 3, 2014

Rain garden planned for Lincoln School--Volunteers needed!

Recently, the Friends of Lake Wingra met with Clare Seguin, a Lincoln science teacher who is interested in applying for a grant from FOLW.

The grant would cover expenses for installation of a rain garden--mostly for plants purchased wholesale from Agrecol, Inc.  Up to $4,000 in funds are available from FOLW, with an application deadline of Jan. 5, 2015.

Clare said she could incorporate rain garden construction into her classes.  Students would put the plants in the ground.

We discussed how a rain garden with native plants could introduce students to concepts of biodiversity.  Students can use inexpensive cameras to "capture" insects visiting fall flowers in the garden.  Then they can make scrapbooks of insect photos, and look up life-cycle details on the internet.

Through this exercise, kids would learn about the diversity of life, details of natural history, photography, and computers (while downloading and cropping the photos).

In the new butterfly garden at Thoreau School,
kids found 8 species of pollinators when they visited the garden.

Teachers are extremely busy!  So Clare is looking for citizen volunteers or parents to help weed and water the garden after planting--especially during the summer.  Contact Lincoln School or myself* if you can help!  Without volunteers, this outdoor learning experience may not be possible for the kids.

Lincoln is a leader among Madison's schools** in outdoor learning and in watershed awareness.   Hamilton Middle, Thoreau Elementary, and Midvale Elementary schools also have excellent programs.  But the majority of schools in the Wingra watershed have not participated in the FOLW grant program, or in the Earth Partnership for Schools program.

We've discovered that outdoor programs develop from the grass roots on up.  Interested parents or teachers have to take the initiative.  So if you are a parent--find a teacher to work with--and contact me.*  We'll explain the grant program, and help you with your application.

It's possible to start with a very small program, work it into the curriculum, then add a little more to the garden each year.

Outdoor learning at Lincoln

The school has a beautiful little patio with native plants around it..

 Lincoln just held a festival kicking off their new Outdoor Classroom Shelter.

Plan showing new natural features & the Outdoor Classroom Shelter.

Large community gardens are located next to the school, showing children where food comes from.

Probable location of the new rain garden, just outside Clare's classroom.

A rain garden here will help reduce this flooding, and may reduce ice on the playground during winter.

Improving student health

A rain garden with native plants can also make the schools more attractive and healthy.

Scientific studies are showing that when kids are exposed to rich biodiversity, they are less likely to develop debilitating asthma.

Somehow, the great variety of "good" microbes "trains" the the child's immune system to work better--not to over-react to ordinary things like pollen in the environment.

Native plants and animals they attract help to create this rich environment of "friendly microbes."  In addition, native plants can reduce dust and purify pollutants on school grounds.

#               #               #

*  David Thompson, 608-233-9589.

**  I surveyed schools on Madison's west side for "watershed awareness" and outdoor gardens.  So there may be schools with good programs on the east side.

Rain garden planned for Akira Toki Middle School

No comments:

Post a Comment