Creating Highland's Environmental Garden
In 2006, the Highland Elementary community celebrated 20 years of learning by designing and implementing a plan for several distinctive outdoor learning areas to be established on school grounds. Thanks to grants from the Tree Trust organizations and Kids Growing with Dutch Bulbs, as well as donations received from Highland families, we are off to an amazing start.
In May 2006, our school became beautifully enhanced with the additions of a mounded amphitheater with eight benches, a butterfly garden with more than 220 perennials, a wildlife habitat near the playground, and a brick pathway and hosta garden to welcome visitors and students to school. Every student helped to plant, water, and mulch trees, shrubs and perennials with the oversight of Master Gardeners. What a fantastic celebration of Highland as a place to grow and flourish. We held an all school assembly in conjunction with Highland's 20 anniversary as a school and had a wonderful ribbon-cutting ceremony.
On September 25, 2007, students planted, watered, and mulched 27 trees and 46 bushes on the school grounds. We are beating back global warming! Seven shade trees were planted on the west side of the building to help reduce cooling costs. Ten spruce trees were planted near the playground to create a windbreak for students when they are outside and to help cut heating costs in the winter. Shrubs were planted near the amphitheater to create a better sound barrier for classes using this outside classroom. Shade trees were also added to the west of the amphitheater.
In September 2008, an Eagle Scout project led by Will Malloy and coordinated by Michelle Ehlers, added a weather garden to the area just outside the cafeteria. A thermometer and rain gauge were installed and surrounded by an assortment of shrubs and perennials. Electronic components allow interactive learning with classrooms. The temperature, rainfall, and wind direction and speed can be monitored wirelessly from a station within the building. Students learning about weather will have opportunities to look at trends by downloading the data.