Three years ago, Lands and Waters partnered with Lanier Middle School to create a living classroom in their turf-dominated courtyard. The objective was to create a forested area to provide habitat for organisms that would use the vernal pool ecosystem, such as amphibians and invertebrates. We wanted to create examples of ecosystems — a bog, plantings representative of upland woodland forest, a riparian area, a meadow, a vernal pool, a pollinator garden and finally a vegetable garden was added last spring by the hardworking members of the Eco-club.
The courtyard is opened to all disciplines but the Eco-club is at the heart of the maintaining and enhancing courtyard. Lanier’s Eco-club meets twice a week this year — primary activities evolve around the courtyard and the school’s recycling program.
This year projects:
- Creating a circulating stream powered by solar energy and designed by Dr. Desouza’s students (Techonolgy and Engineering teacher)
- Fall plantings in the vegetable garden culminating in a salad day and “Real Cost of Food” educational program about the environmental, ethical and health impacts of the global food system
- Installing a small-scale indoor composting system so students can observe decomposition
- Creation of a field guide to catalogue and monitor the species found at Lanier as our greening projects mature and provide better habitat to local flora and fauna
- Monitoring vernal pool organisms
- Raising fairy shrimp in the classroom
Eco-club students investigate the vernal pool habitat in their courtyard.
Water samples collected from the vernal pool to test for water quality parameters and macroinvertebrates.
Eco-club students use microscopes to look for macroinvertebrates and other microscopic life forms.
Teamwork! Students working together to load and haul fresh gravel for the dry-bed stream.
Students help to put in a low area that runs through the courtyard to conduct water to two internal drains.
Ms. Alam, science teacher and Eco-club leader, picks the last of the summer tomatoes before they are killed by frost.
September plantings of radish come to harvest.