A group of middle school students have been transforming a garden into a real outdoor classroom this past year, and younger students will reap the benefits.
At the DeSmet school, seventh and eighth graders spend time this past semester in the practical arts class rejuvenating the school garden that is by the front doors. They built tables and benches, making the area available to be used for outdoor classwork.
The garden was planned 12 years ago, started by teachers Linda Briggeman and Melanie Pettit with a grant. Several years ago, the watering systems broke down.
“It sort of went to ruin and was sort of a pile of weeds rather than a beautiful native garden,” said practical arts teacher Magdalen Marmon.
To get it started up again, the school registered as an eco-school with the National Wildlife Federation. They joined the Eco-Schools USA program, where educator Juliet Slutzker connected them with the Zero Waste Ambassadors Program at Home ReSource. Marmon’s students began working to build the benches and tables, under the instruction of Home ReSource professionals.
“They built them, they stained them, they chose the stain,” Marmon said, “which is why the tables are black and the benches are white, because that’s what they wanted. Seventh- and eighth-graders love black.”