News from the public meeting
Posted with the permission of the Seward Schoolyard Habitat blog
Matt Gray, of the Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, led a community meeting Wednesday night at the High School to share the short- and long-term plans for the Seward Schoolyard Habitat Project. People packed into Carlyn Nichol’s science classroom to learn more about the project, filling every seat in the room. After Matt opened the meeting with a brief overview, Heather Fuller, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, presented a PowerPoint to explain the nuts and bolts of the funding and requirements for such a project. She gave examples of other schools on the Peninsula that are pursuing schoolyard habitats, as well as examples of projects well underway in the Wasilla/Palmer area.
Jenn Haugh, a Kindergarten teacher, explained how teachers will build upon each other’s projects across all three school campuses. She also gave examples of how teachers might align the curriculum to the schoolyard habitats and use them as outdoor classrooms, giving teachers fantastic opportunities for place-based education.
Carlyn Nichols, a science teacher at both the middle and high schools, detailed the trail systems that exist around the three schools. She talked about how these should be maintained, enhanced, and connected. She envisions having a trail system that has interpretive signs to help both students and community members get the most out of walks, jogs, or skis through the old-growth forests. Thinking like a scientist, Carlyn pointed out how lucky we are to have such amazing habitats in our own back yards. Heather Fuller echoed that idea, and added that one of the goals of this project is to make these habitats accessible to everyone.
To present a vision for the native species garden planned for the elementary school, several of Bob Barnwell’s students gave a Prezi.com presentation. (Click for website article and their presentation)
Full-color, large and small maps were placed around the room for people to look at as ideas were discussed. For the last 20 minutes of the meeting, people met in small groups to brainstorm more ideas for the schoolyard habitats.