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Forest Hills Central Woodlands

Summary
In the beginning of the year, students learned the importance of taking care of our waterways, the damaging effects of nonpoint source pollution, and why reducing runoff into our storm drains is crucial to our waters. After noticing that a storm drain was right in our landscape in the front of our building, students were placed into teams of five and were given the charge to come up with a new landscape design with a theme of their choice using native plants. Students researched native plants, drew the layout to scale, wrote a script to present to the principal, teachers, and landscape architect that we were partnering with. Since every team worked so hard, the best feature from each team was taken and placed into a new design by Amy Heilman. Late May, students worked on implementing the project by mulching, planting, and placing tree cookies in our transformed landscape.

Fostering Lifelong Stewardship
Students are more aware of their impact on the environment. Some students mentioned that they want to work in environmental jobs – landscape design and landscaping. Caring more about plants and teaching others about not polluting is another expected outcome of this project.

Number of Students
52

Number of Teachers
3

Partners
River City Wild Ones
Rebecca Marquardt, landscape architect

Funders
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Tags
stormwater, runoff, native vegetation, NPS pollution

Summary
Our school grounds are overrun with invasive plant species, specifically spotted knapweed, garlic mustard, oriental bittersweet, and autumn olive. Last year we removed more than 50 autumn olive trees and a sizable area of oriental bittersweet. This year continued these efforts (20+ trees and 30+ oriental bittersweet vines were removed) along with an additional focus on the expanse of spotted knapweed on our grounds.

Students researched the invasives and best practices for removal and wrote feature articles highlighting their findings. A controlled burn was conducted this spring with follow up removal by hand pulling (by students) and propane torching rosettes (by teachers). Students then planted native seeds in the burn area that they harvested from their Sand Hill Farm field trip this past Fall.

Showcase Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sf_HVJfF5dA

Number of Students
111

Number of Teachers
4

Partners
River City Wild Ones
Amway
Sand Hill Farm

Funders
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Tags
invasive species, native vegetation, controlled burn

District
Forest Hills Public Schools

School Website
http://www.fhps.net/centralwoodlands/

View Project Photos