During the school year 2010-2011 we built a schoolyard wetland and named it Linden Lagoon. Each student planted a plant beside a piece of PVC pipe that they hammered into the ground. Our wheelchair bound student, Nick, got on his stomach and was able to participate. Shortly thereafter in January, after planting in October, vandals struck, pulled up all of the pipes and most of the plants and threw them into the water. I rescued as many plants as I could; but as the grass began to grow the maintenance crew mowed the whole area because no one was there to stop them. We politely asked them not do it again and placed surveyor's tape and flags around it. However a different group of maintenance staff mowed it again (yes, right over the tape and flags). That was the last time that happened. Because it was winter when the vandalism occurred and due to the actions of the maintenance staff, not many plants survived. We replanted off and on when money was available or when someone would donate plants. On Arbor Day 2012, we planted several trees around the area and placed cedar split rails to mark the corners.
In November of 2013 the unthinkable happened. One of our third graders, Trei' Vann, died on the bus ride home from an undiagnosed medical condition. He was a precious little boy with a big, loving personality. Everyone knew and loved him. Around the same time, grant money was obtained from Tennessee Technology University student teacher program for funding outdoor education. We chose to use part of the money to plant a pollinator garden in one corner of Linden Lagoon. It was dedicated on May 5th as the Trei' Vann Memorial Garden. It includes a garden bench with a lovely poem engraved in it. Trei', whose favorite color was green, had helped plant the wetland, loved visiting it and learning about all the plants and animals there. Many students helped prepare the ground for planting. His classmates planted many native plants. They painted and placed several nesting boxes.
We would like to be able to add more to Linden Lagoon or our nature trail (constructed several years ago by a class as an Earth Day project). One thing that comes to mind is adding some feeders. The wetland is bordered on one side by woods near where the nature trail goes into the green-belt space. There is an abundance of life to observe.
We are also trying to make our schoolyard a gathering place for families.