Hollifield Station is Keeping on Track with Green Awareness
Building Structures for Learning
Embedded within the outdoor classroom, is a bird sanctuary. The bird garden serves as a living laboratory where students engage in hands-on-inquiries into the natural world. The students observe birds carefully, collect data, ask their own questions, draw conclusions through research and observation, and publish their results. We believe every child should experience the world outside. Students develop a sense of identity while learning the values and skills of responsible citizenship. If students are encouraged to explore the natural world, they are likely to develop a lifelong love of nature that will translate into a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship. The entire process of planning, building and maintaining a schoolyard habitat provides a wide range of benefits to students, teachers, the administration and the community, as well as to wildlife.
Project FeederWatch Instructional Seminar
Students in grades 3-5 participate in Project FeederWatch, a winter long survey of birds that visit backyard feeders in North America. The FeederWatch data help scientists track broad scale movements of winter bird populations and long-term trends in bird distribution and abundance. Students become real citizen scientists as they observe, identify, and record bird species in our garden. Experiments allow students to participate in authentic inquiry. Current fifth grade students designed an experiment to see which bird seed brand was the most popular with our songbirds. Kaytee brand proved to be the most popular. The scientific process is brought to life for our students in our bird sanctuary!
Adopt a Garden Plot at HSES
Empty garden plots were made available to the community to help beautify the school and to create more wildlife habitats. Many Girl and Boy Scout troops took advantage of this opportunity as they earned their environmental/community service badges. Pictured (Girl Scout Troop 120- HSES students) weed, plant, and restore the volunteer garden in front of the school as part of their Journey Badge: Agent of Change.
from Troop 615
participated in a schoolyard clean up and the creation of a trail from the outdoor classroom to the stream. Mrs. Dhey, a parent of the HSES student that organized the cleanup said, "Thanks for instilling such confidence
in your Hollifield students. Ishaan is very proud of his elementary school. I feel lucky
that Ishaan has been involved in the Earth Force Team and environmental projects at school." Pictured Below: Mrs. Barbara Goglia and her students plant a flower garden with native plants as an extension to the first grade science curriculum. "A garden is a friend you can visit anytime." Author unknown
Previous HSES student earns Eagle Scout Award by implementing a rain garden at HSES.
Gabriel Koo was shown the problem with our outdoor classroom. Rainwater runoff from the playgroung blacktop area was forming small rivers that ran into our outdoor classroom washing away the wood chips. Mrs. Speelman (Gabriel's former GT Resource Teacher) suggested to Gabriel the possibility of building a rain garden to help with erosion and flood control. Gabriel gladly accepted the challenge with enthusiasm and for the next 8 months he worked with Mrs. Speelman to finalize the plans.
independently on setting the date for construction, putting together his work
force, and procuring more funds for his project. He continually asked good questions. It is not possible to know
everything. Curiosity and inquisitiveness are key to learning and
developing as a leader. On the actual workday,
Gabriel was prepared with all the tools, plants, and materials needed to build
the rain garden.He was a true
leader that day! He explained the garden design and planting specifications for
the plants to his work force in a very thoughtful and courteous manner.He was very appreciative of the Boy
Scout volunteers, many who were former HSES students, and their families who helped support this
project.About three hours into
the building of the rain garden, a torrential rain began.How fitting for a rain garden?Gabriel sent his work force home
and then showed up a few hours later to finish the work with his family.This is a true, responsible
leader!Today the rain garden works masterfully.It absorbs the rainwater runoff before
it reaches the outdoor classroom.
Hollifield is extremely proud of Gabriel and his dedication and persistence with completing this project. One never knows how you change the lives of your students and how far your influence extends!