Students set out goals, measured the abiotic factors affecting the area (soil pH, moisture levels, type etc.) and drew realistic maps for this project. Students also researched plant species native to North America and determine which ones would be appropriate for the school site.
Resources used included: internet resources (guelph.ca/healthylandscapes) and the books “Trees of Ontario” and “Wildflowers of Ontario.” The lesson plan is here.
One of the proposals, created by Mytchel Lynn and Peter Clarke, was chosen by the Green Team to be developed on the school grounds.
The Green Team was hoping to create an outdoor classroom since 2008. In early 2009, Green Team members began applying for grants to help fund this project. They received the Metro Green Apple Grant and the SpeakUp grant later on in 2011.
During the Spring 2011 semester, Mrs. Doyle, whose class created the proposals and who led the environmental specialist high skills major for the WCDSB for that semester, worked closely with the Green Team and the Grand River Conservation Authority to begin developing and implementing the ideas (such as tree planting and mulch purchased from/donated by the Grand River Conservation Authority) which were proposed by Mytchel and Peter.
Eventually, the plan became more solidified and the blueprints were tweaked setting a new 5-year plan in motion. The plan was submitted to Landscape Ontario (which is a new committee of landscapers in Southern Ontario) for $40,000-$50,000 worth of landscaping services towards a school greening project.
In January 2012, the Green Team were told that they were one of five finalists and they had to create a presentation for the Landscape Ontario judges explaining why their school would benefit from the project. After the proposal presentation in late March 2012, St. James were notified that they won the grant!
Soon after in April, two primary landscapers visited the site where the outdoor classroom would be built. Because they wanted to start fresh with some new ideas to enhance the initial plan, St. James had to remove the trees/mulch that the specialist high skills major/environmental science classes had planted the spring before.
For the past few weeks St James students have been transplanting trees from the ground into pots. Over the summer, student volunteers will take some of the small plants home to take care of them over the summer and then bring them back in the fall once the landscapers are ready for them. The larger trees will remain in the school's courtyard and the plants will be watered every other day by the groundskeeper until the fall.
The project will commence early summer and will be finished sometime in the fall 2012. The students will be involved in maintenance after the project is finished.