Palermo Sustainable Gardens
We are making a new set of pollinator gardens to teach and to learn about sustainability, native species of plants, and how to care for future green projects! Our focus is on planting native species of perennials that will support bees, birds, butterflies, and other pollinators. Since some of our plants will be edible and/or have medicinal qualities we wanted to establish raised beds using stock tanks which will also provide some protection in a busy school yard.
Additionally, we’ll have a Sunflower garden that is intended to be an annual project that will give teachers, students, and community members a chance to grow sunflowers from seeds that we can plant from year to year.
Finally, since this is a student-led initiative, we want to ensure that students can teach students how to care for the plants, and thus we’ve had our grade 8s train and teach grade 7s the steps needed to ensure the survival of our new vegetation.
Since our goals are to create opportunities for sustainability and learning while supporting local flora and fauna, we’ve expanded the project to include students of all grades from our school. While our grade 8s spearheaded the efforts with support of the LSF, much of our initial planting was done by our grade 3s. Our intermediate grades have been careful to help provide the training and guidance to students from younger grades on how to water and make gardening part of our every day curriculum. Our teachers have been working to help deepen their own understanding and to learn alongside our students as part of a full community enriching experience. This aligns incredibly well with our outdoor experiential education plans and the direction of our school board.
Our next steps are to continue the teaching and learning, and to establish a counter-point in our development so that we can see the difference between a variety of locations that offer different conditions (e.g., full-sun vs. partial sun, wooden raised beds vs. metal stock tanks, etc.)
Reflection & Celebration
Our students have adored this project so far! They’re keen to learn, excited to dig in the dirt with their hands, and they always look forward to their turn to be the care-takers of the new plants each day. They know that it has been a tremendous amount of work and planning because they’re the ones who did it all. They took ownership on the project from day one — building accountability, learning how to navigate deadlines and budgets, and even how to deal with setbacks and difficulties. There has been tremendous growth here for the students of our first year with this project.
…We can’t wait to see what happens in year two when we get to plant our own seeds!