Earlier this year at the spring (March 21) KBS K-12 Partnership workshop, we partnered with Project GREEEN, a collaborative initiative to ‘develop research and educational programs, ensure and improve food safety and protect and preserve the quality of the environment.’ Project GREEEN funds sponsored the plenary talk, the concurrent session “Big Roots for Big Problems”, and follow-up projects utilizing native plants at three different schools.
As an extension of the workshop, the Graduate Fellow-led “GREEEN team” chose to use the remaining funds to sponsor community schoolyard native plantings. A call for proposals was sent out to the teachers participating in the March 21 workshop.
The first funded proposal was led by Russ Stolberg, 8th grade science teacher, Olivet Middle School. Russ reports that his 8th grade students planted 400 Eaton Co. native grass seedlings, from Hidden Savannah, in two rain gardens on the school campus.
The second proposal was led by Genevieve Sertic, a student of the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center (KAMSC). A portion of the funds were used to plant Clematis virginiana, Phlox pilosa, Rudbeckia hirta, Echinacea purpurea and Aster cordifolius in the KAMSC schoolyard gardens. These gardens are maintained by the KAMSC Earthlings environmental club and are used to provide hands-on science experience to KAMSC’s Sizzlin’ Summer Science students (elementary through middle school), and to KAMSC’s high school students through the regular school year to study native plants and interactions with the insects and birds which they attract. The Project GREEEN contribution to the gardens has been highlighted on the KAMSC Earthlings group website at www.kamscearthlings.weebly.com , and in two issues of their student newspaper (Fall and Halloween 2013), found here.
The remainder of the funds allocated to KAMSC were used to further Sertic’s own plant-based rooftop agriculture research for the KAMSC Research Team. She presented Mathematical Modeling of the Benefits and Drawbacks of Rooftop Agriculture at the Southwest Michigan Science and Engineering Fair, spring 2013 and used GREEEN funds to test her mathematical models of plant production given different soil volumes.
The third proposal, led by Jennifer Boyle of Gull Lake, is slated to be completed late Spring 2014. The Gull Lake proposal will improve the native plant community in the Gull Lake Community Schools Outdoor Classroom, a certified Natural Habitat, serving up to 1800 students per year.
Thanks to all who submitted proposals for funding, and congratulations to Olivet, KAMSC, and Gull Lake on your new native plantings, courtesy of your GK-12 Fellows and Project GREEEN!