The Schoolyard Planting Project, a Sustainable Huron initiative, will create naturalized outdoor classrooms at three of Huron’s elementary schools. The Schoolyard Planting Project will benefit the entire community by improving the quality of existing natural areas, providing shade and wind protection, fostering natural environment and ecological awareness, providing erosion control, and engaging youth to create meaningful change. Developed in partnership with the Maitland Valley and Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authorities, this pilot project by Huron County is in support of the creation of a long-term sustainability plan for Huron County. The Huron County Sustainability Plan is designed to provide a framework to address environmental, social, cultural and economic issues in Huron County and its nine individual municipalities.
The Schoolyard Planting project has been well received through the submission of enthusiastic applications from Huron County schools and proposals from professional landscape designers wanting to participate in the initiative. Three Grade Six classes from Seaforth Public School, Brookside Public School and Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School will be collaborating with selected landscape designer Jane Eligh-Feryn to develop stimulating outdoor classroom landscape designs for their schools, featuring plant species native to Huron County. The schoolyard plantings as well as educational presentation by local Conservation Authorities is slated to occur in September 2011, as the students enter Grade Seven.
The project will begin with in-class workshops, delivered by Ms. Eligh-Feryn in conjunction the local Conservation Authorities with who will teach students about naturalized and local landscapes, the tree planting process, and the benefits of taking action for ecological sustainability in their schoolyard.
“This interactive process will allow the students to become the designers of their own environment. They will understand that they are designing places that the school community will use, but that they will share with birds, pollinating insects and small mammals. This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to learn first hand, what it means to create and protect habitat.” said Jane Eligh-Feryn, of Eligh-Feryn Landscape Planning and Design.
This initiative will showcase sustainable practices on the ground, build collaborative partnerships, and support local businesses. There is potential for this pilot project to be expanded across Huron County and act as an example for future initiatives. Sustainable Huron’s Schoolyard Planting Project will strengthen the connections that students and teachers have with nature, thus fostering awareness of the importance of respecting and preserving the web of life.
Check out the Schoolyard Planting Project page for project updates!