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Nurturing nature

Birchwood PTO holds event rallying for nature park restoration

Eight-year-old Jackie Jasiewicz, front right, spoons some dirt out of a cup while making her own greenhouse with help from local Girl Scouts.

Eight-year-old Jackie Jasiewicz, front right, spoons some dirt out of a cup while making her own greenhouse with help from local Girl Scouts. Photo by John Purcell.

— Berndt added the new common core state standards include a stronger push for nonfiction reading and comprehension. She said the nature park would “bring content to life” for students and allow them to explore things hands-on.

Third-grade science students just finished studying the life cycle of a butterfly, Berndt said. Typically, the class would just walk outside and release the butterflies, but the nature park could continue utilizing the insects.

“We used to traditionally have a butterfly garden in the nature trail and that is where they used to take the butterflies to release them out,” Berndt said. “This is something that we could rebuild and use in that way.”

Foley said in addition to restoring the nature trail and “forest classroom,” the school’s project would include installing a solar-powered greenhouse, raised-frame vegetable gardens, butterfly garden, compost station and a rain barrel water harvesting system.

“Learning doesn’t only take place in the four walls of a classroom,” Berndt said. “This is just another avenue we can continue to have real life experiences and just enrich the curriculum in the classroom.”

For more information on Birchwood Elementary School’s Nature Park Restoration Project and instructions on how to vote for the project in the Clorox grant contest, visit the PTO’s website at birchwood.niskypto.org.

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