Lawrence, MA, United States
Our garden revitalization project is off to good start. We began with a scraggly garden space between a retaining wall and a small stretch of woods. A few years ago, perennials had been transplanted to this spot during a school construction project, but not many survived and weeds had invaded.
This was a multi-class project involving the 5th, 6th and 7th graders at our school. 5th grade students tended the bird feeders all year, keeping them full of sunflower seed and suet, and learning to identify the frequent visitors. 5th grade science classes also used the migration lessons in the Habitat Connection curriculum to learn more about advantages for migration and staying put for the winter. When spring rolled around, 7th graders headed out to do a habitat survey of the garden and surrounding school yard, including making a habitat map on Yard Map and observations of birds in the school yard. Among their ideas for habitat improvement was adding a bird bath for a water source. 6th graders took over the project in late spring to do the actual garden work. Some students tackled the weeds, including invasive garlic mustard, and encroaching branches from the woods. Other students planted native perennials, including pollinator-friendly flowering plants. To help students learn about different types of plants we also planted 2 species of ferns and cleared grass from around some existing moss in hopes that we can cultivate a little moss garden as well.
And we aren’t done yet! Students in the summer program will be planting native shrubs at the back of the garden to provide shelter and berries for the birds. They also will be spreading mulch around the garden to help conserve moisture in the soil.
We are looking forward to watching our garden grow, observing birds and butterflies using the space, and incorporating our new and improved garden in science lessons next year.