In mid-May, Gull Lake 8th graders learned about landscaping with native plants with the help of fellows Tyler Bassett and Brendan O’Neill. Friday, May 16 was cool and a bit rainy, but that didn’t stop Jamie Bowman’s 8th grade class from planting nearly 300 native plugs at the Gull Lake Middle school. Tyler and Brendan took turns helping the students settle the plants and teach them about some of the benefits of native plant landscaping, including: improved wildlife habitat, erosion and run-off control, and reduced water use. Ms. Bowman hopes plans to use the newly planted area in future years as an extension of the BEST plots and the Gull Lake Outdoor Classroom, which includes lake access and a greenhouse. Students have used the outdoor classroom to sample lake water for water quality analyses, learn about aquatic invertebrate life, and survey the species of plants that inhabit the schoolyard. The project was a result of a collaboration between the MSU LTER program, Project GREEEN, GK-12, and Ms. Bowman.