Before the school year ended in May, the Trion Green Team worked to create a butterfly habitat and an expanded, beautiful outdoor classroom in the center of the school for student learning and community enjoyment, starting this summer.
This central feature of a developing garden area uses recycled pallets and cedar and metal raised bed planters, built by the high school construction classes, for planting seasonal fruits, vegetables and edible flowers. It is flanked by a perennial herb garden, “living wall” (designed and built by Sophie Harward inspired by the Atlanta Botanical Gardens), hydroponics and aquaponics systems, and revamped greenhouse. Incorporating an industrial koi/goldfish pond with water fountain and water plants, the pollinator garden features perennial flowers and shrubs – both nectar and host plants – to attract a variety of butterflies and other pollinators. This garden area will be available to be used for hands-on learning by elementary, middle and high school students as part of life science/environmental science studies on all related topics such as lifecycles, metamorphosis, cross-pollination and inherited traits, as well as ecosystems, water purification, pH, and pollution control.
Presently, the butterfly bushes are in full bloom. Recently donated koi were added to the pond, and they are adjusting well to their new home. Green Team member, Max Kilgore, planted a “Three Sisters” garden comprised of corn, squash and beans. Several large cucumbers, squash and zucchini have been harvested already. Additionally, a raised bed planted with potato seeds in the spring just yielded approximately 20 lbs. of potatoes which our Green Team took home to enjoy. Our hydroponics tower is thriving thanks to the efforts of rising senior Kim Truong and middle school student Mollie Edge. A Middle School club called the Green Seeds has been helping in the garden, watering and adding mulch for protection of the plants in the heat of the summer.
In their spare time, the Green Team has volunteered to plant and help weed and beautify the raised bed planter at Trion’s City Park. They are working to propagate some plants for the area now and plan to work to further beautify the planting bed in the park in the fall.
“As sponsor of the Green Team, I couldn’t be more proud of the students taking responsibility for this endeavor, Carla Harward, Co-curricular Program and Community Outreach Coordinator for Trion City Schools said. “Our group is really looking forward to the start of the next school year and helping to teach others about nutrition and benefits of healthy eating as part of continued Farm Fresh Friday events. Squash will be the next featured vegetable so stay tuned. With the addition of this pollinator garden area, the Green Team has created a truly unique demonstration/learning garden that will connect students with their community and encourage environmental stewardship for years to come.”