MMHS Arboretum, Community, Indigenous and Medicinal Plant Gardens
Students, staff, community members and partners began planting trees, shrubs and wildflowers at Milliken Mills High School in 1994. Since that time the arboretum and associated gardens have been enhanced and have flourished. This year and last we have made every effort to expand the nature of the gardens with an interpretive guide created by students across the curriculum. This, while the physical and plant make-up of the garden continues to evolve. This year, despite the challenges of face to face learning and participation, we were able to establish the indigenous medicinal plant garden and create a strong cross-departmental partnership in the school which will see the roots truly become shoots as the project will become stewarded through the teamwork of the science department, the visual arts department, special education and the TEAM Program. As a result the entire arboretum will have many more caretakers and much more exposure as a living classroom.
This year, despite the pandemic, we were able to plant an additional 5 trees and close to 200 pollinator and medicinal plants in the arboretum on school property. When face to face learning became improbable we began a home rewilding program which encouraged personal action to create pollinator habitat at student’s homes. This was very successful as we were able to plant an additional 250 pollinator plants in the school community as well as deliver 100 vegetable plants to be planted alongside to enable a scientific study of plant and insect relationships.
Reflection & Celebration
We are not quite done but we will make final presentations next week where students involved in the rewilding and eco-restoration projects will make updated photos available for all to see and celebrate. The gardens at the school will have to fend for themselves this year as we are still not able to return together to tend them – rewilding in its truest form!
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