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New Branches Charter Academy

Summary
Our school researched, planned, planted, and maintained a community garden of native species and locally cultivated species. The heritage garden idea was selected based on the results of a survey asking what staff and parents would like to have as a resource at the school. The garden features native plants that help provide habitat and collect rainwater from the school campus. Students learned about winter ecology, ecosystems, water, and other monthly environmental science themes implemented by NBCA.

Fostering Lifelong Stewardship
It’s been amazing to see students and families connect more with our school’s property. The rain garden has created a sense of pride in taking care of our local community. This project has encouraged students and families to become more engaged in solutions for the local watershed.

Number of Students
290

Number of Teachers
2

Partners
Calvin College – Plaster Creek Stewards

Funders
Baldwin Foundation

Tags
community garden, native vegetation, habitat

Summary
Our middle school students teamed up with well-known local artist Reb Roberts to create a nonpoint source pollution educational art campaign. Both storm drains that our students painted on the road approaching our school created an opportunity to talk about nonpoint source pollution and that the water going down those storm drains are leading directly to our rivers. The artwork encompasses two drains with an interconnected mural, which illustrates the effects NPS pollution on our waterways and suggestions on how to prevent it. Our students took part in a culminating celebration to unveil their artwork to the community. The celebration took place on May 19th, 2015 and was very well attended.

The 6th grade students were able to visit the GVSU science boat and do water quality tests and compare the river water with the water of Lake Michigan. All 6-8 grade students participated in Mark Walton’s seminar educating the students about the negative effects of water runoff from land and storm drains on the watershed and the actions that could reduce the amount of non-point source pollution entering our water systems. In addition, all students have toured the Plaster Creek Watershed and followed the storm drains to the park. They have made observations during rain and dry events and how the rush of storm water has an immediate effect on Plaster Creek. Plaster Creek Stewards presented to all 6-8th grade students, providing an educational slide show giving information about storm water issues and solutions.

Students also created and painted a large-scale stormwater mural in Sixth Street Bridge Park as an ArtPrize entry.

Showcase Video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEOTgiZq0r0

Number of Students
95

Number of Teachers
3

Partners
City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department
Grand Valley Metro Council / Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds
Calvin College – Plaster Creek Stewards
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission
GVSU AWRI
Sanctuary Folk Art
MI Stormwater Floodplain Assocation
Kent Conservation District

Funders
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Tags
stormwater, runoff, NPS pollution, storm drain art

District
Charter

School Website
http://newbranches.org/

View Project Photos