Encouraging students to pursue academic passions and interests beyond the traditional classroom environment is an important element of the Mercer Island School District's 2020 Vision
Earth Day and sustainability celebrated year-round by West Mercer students
|Wednesday, April 22 is Earth Day. But students at West Mercer Elementary have made sustainability a year-round learning experience.|
The student Green Team and Gardening Team at West Mercer joined forces to help restore the school's courtyard garden for use as an educational tool for their fellow students. The group, made up of mostly fourth graders, gave up many of their lunch recesses during the winter months to prepare the garden.
"Mrs. Isaacs arranged for a Master Gardener visit with the members of the Green Team and the Gardening Crew to identify the plants in the garden, which are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest and have a special role in the early days of our state," said West Mercer Elementary Interim Associate Principal Kathy Bledsoe.
Students have been researching the plants and have been weeding and pruning, while becoming experts on the location and features of the plants. They took their new knowledge and led tours for about 10 classrooms. Not only did these young students learn more about the environment around them, but they also learned valuable leadership and communications skills as they guided small groups of students on their tours.
"The tours allow more West Mercer students to become familiar with these indigenous plants, and allow them to discover how these plants were used," says Bledsoe. "On Earth Day, the student tour guides will sponsor a scavenger hunt for other students in the courtyard. Students who complete a questionnaire and demonstrate their new knowledge of the plants and their early uses will be recognized."
"When people come into the garden, we want them to be able to say they know something about the Dogwood or the Bleeding Heart," added Bledsoe.
Once the tours were completed on Tuesday afternoon, the student tour guides reviewed what worked and what did not. After providing an analysis of two styles of tours she led, fourth-grader Berkley asked, "Who is coming tomorrow?" Their excitement erupted as the students heard which classes would be coming the next day. With a smile on her face, fourth-grader Ellie demanded, "Tell us the whole schedule!" Another student asked, "Is it okay if I tell my brother to have his teacher sign up for a tour?"
After Earth Day, the courtyard will be opened for teachers interested in using the space for class work.
Bledsoe says, "The children work very hard when they are doing their work. The Green Team and Gardening Crew members are learning about plants and how to care for them. They are very proud of their work and know they are doing something special in their school. They have received many compliments from staff members and parents about their work."
Statement of Nondiscrimination
The Mercer Island School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.
The following people have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies:
Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Coordinator:
Dr. Gary Plano, Superintendent, (206) 236-3300.
Title IX Compliance Coordinator:
Dean Mack, CFO/COO, (206) 236-4522.
Section 504 & ADA Coordinator:
Lindsay Myatich, Director, (206) 236-3326.
Civil Rights Coordinator:
Mark Roschy, Director, (206) 236-3439.
|Contact: Randy Bolerjack