Lyons Township High School gets grant for grounds
LT students help remove invasive species from the courtyard.
Updated: January 10, 2013 10:43AM
LA GRANGE — Lyons Township High School recently received a $400 School Grounds Project Grant from the Earth Partnership for Schools at the University of Wisconsin, Madison – Aboretum, to help continue improvements to the South Campus Biology Courtyard. The monies will be used to purchase plants and equipment to develop the courtyard into a more utilized outdoor classroom space with native flora
LT was eligible for the funds due to the enrollment last summer of four LT science teachers in the weeklong Earth Partnership institute. During the institute, teachers learned about the establishment of a native environment on school grounds and how to incorporate these environments into the classroom.
The teachers presented information on the current of the courtyard, progress in the restoration process to date and the future vision. Upon completion of the institute, teachers committed to a two-year plan toward improving the courtyard environment. The Earth Partnership for Schools program is designed to engage students, teachers and community partners in restoring native habitats on schoolyards and nearby natural areas.
This fall, the Biology Courtyard Committee, comprised of teachers Michelle Wrona, David Stormont, Erica Flounders and Leilani Lopez, organized 22 students to remove non-native and invasive species such as buckthorn, honeysuckle and burning bush from the courtyard. The teachers and students also collected native prairie plant seeds from established plants, which will be reseeded into established and renovated prairie areas within the courtyard.
Over the winter season, the committee will determine the areas to be planted and what species to establish in the courtyard. The goal is to continue removing invasive species and to expand the planting of a native prairie ecosystem in the spring. The $400 grant will help increase the number and diversity of prairie plants and expand the planting area.
Over the last two years, partnerships with Eagle Scout candidates from the Boy Scouts have yielded improvements to the courtyard. Brian Ramm, LT Class of 2011, helped establish a prairie plot within the courtyard and LT junior Ben Reardon built a compost bin this fall.
An additional goal of the committee is to construct a space that can become more widely utilized by faculty and courses of different disciplines, both as an outdoor education area and as a recreation area.
Eventually, the committee hopes to establish an environment of native prairie and woodland species and provide signage so that students and community members could use the area to learn about native ecosystems and sustainability in a self-guided capacity.