Water Conservation/Outdoor Gardening Education

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Grade 2 Students at Shannon Lake Elementary

Project Description:

This project created three garden areas that have become outdoor classrooms. Here the students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 can study nature, learn about bees, birds and butterflies, work with indigenous plants, and participate in garden activities. The students developed a permaculture style garden, improved and added on to the box style garden, and created an educational, interpretive trail. Not only will these activities get students outdoors, but it will also naturalize parts of the school property. This has had a broad impact on the local ecosystem by attracting pollinators, creating a habitat for local birds and butterflies, improving the current erosion issue, and limiting the amount of water or runoff going into the drain systems.

Some of the improvements and lessons learned include:

  • 6 motion sensor taps were installed in 4 bathrooms.
  • 6 shade trees were planted on the school field to provide shade.
  • A food garden was established and the students successfully harvested a variety of crops. Some of the surplus was sold to Shannon Lake Neighbourhood Pub, some vegetables were given to the seniors at Village of Smith Creek and in the fall, the students set up a vegetable stand and sold some of the produce to the local community. All money received for any sale was as a donation to the project.
  • A pollinator garden was planted on a large portion of the bank and covered with bark mulch. This helped with erosion and attracted some pollinators to the area.
  • Two outdoor areas (under the trees and in the food garden) were created for classes to go outside to learn and appreciate nature while listening to stories, working on various projects, weeding, planting or harvesting.
  • A xeriscape landscape was created on the majority of the bank facing the main thoroughfare. It features many local drought tolerant, native plants that use less water and help with soil erosion.