Getting down and dirty was a necessary part of the fun (and the work) for students at the Amery Middle School in Amery, WI. Recipients of a 2001 Seeds for Education Grant, students used native plants to landscape the school’s courtyard which previously consisted of grass, dandelions, and a cement patio with a picnic table. Windows from the school’s main foyer, as well as from classrooms, look out over the courtyard at the back of the school.
Although the school was built 10 years ago, this was the first landscaping effort on the grounds.
The work was divided among three classrooms, with students from each responsible for designing and planting a portion of the courtyard.
Students could select only native plants which would thrive under the specific soil and light conditions and which would grow to an appropriate height for viewing from inside the building as well as from the patio. In addition, students chose varieties of forbs which would bloom from May through October.
After ordering the plants, students began preparing the site and learning about weed management. Planting was completed by the end of October.
Then the waiting began. Students watched eagerly as the new shoots appeared and were thrilled to see some blooms that first spring!
This prairie garden project inspired a similar project at the district’s elementary school and the start of a restoration project at another site.
This article appeared in the May/June 2002 issue of the Wild Ones Journal.