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News and Events

Stevenson kindergarten students 'save seeds' for rain garden
Posted 01/15/2019 11:46AM


On a mission to fight pollution, Stevenson kindergarten students kicked off a school-wide initiative as they ‘saved seeds’ on January 11, 2019. With the help of parent volunteers, the kindergarteners harvested seeds from prairie plants, which will later be transplanted into the rain and butterfly garden, located in the center of the school’s parking lot roundabout. This was the beginning of the Stevenson Seed Relay, which will involve all grade-levels throughout the spring.

In 2018, Stevenson Elementary was awarded the Outdoor Learning on the Riverfront grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. The grant provided resources to create a rain and butterfly garden at the school, as well as fund a partnership with Heidi Ferris of Growing Green Hearts. Ferris is an environment STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education specialist who partners with schools and community groups to boost science literacy in programs and create on-site solutions for a number of today’s environmental issues.

In 2017, Stevenson – located just to the east of the Mississippi River - restructured its parking lot, creating a new parent pick-up and drop-off roundabout. The center of the roundabout now houses the rain and butterfly garden, which captures and filters stormwater runoff before it enters the river. The garden also provides an outdoor learning space for the students at Stevenson. Students have the opportunity to participate in multiple hands-on learning experiences while taking action to create a meaningful and beneficial habitat.

Students at Stevenson are learning about prairie plants and rain gardens, as well as the importance of providing habitats for butterflies, birds and bees. The kindergarteners harvested seeds from various plants, including milkweed, black-eyed Susan and dogwood, which will then be planted by 1st graders in February. The school-wide initiative will allow all grade-levels to participate in the creation of the rain and butterfly garden. Students will monitor the process as seeds grow indoors until April, when 2nd grade students will transplant the plants into the rain garden. In May, 3rd and 4th grade students will also plant in the rain garden.

“As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, we work to engage students in meaningful and relevant learning experiences,” said Stevenson IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordinator Veronica Mathison. “Hands-on, inquiry-based learning is at the center of instruction in the IB. This entire project also allows our students to take action and directly see the benefits and results from their work as we create a garden to foster wildlife, as well as protect the environment.”




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