SPS students get their hands dirty while exploring the environment

On a recent day at the Ozark Empire Fair, in front of Hillcrest High School, students were planting trees in black plastic pots.

“They now have Washington’s hawthorn,” said Christie Wilder, a basin resident and program manager for the Ozarks Basin Committee. so we do one thing at a time. “

SPS and the Ozark Basin Partnership Basin

The Ozarks Basin Committee is partnering with Springfield Community Schools to teach students things such as sowing and distributing seeds, mixing soil, transplanting shrubs, and sorting seeds.

The site has a high tunnel in the northern part of the fair, where the reservoir committee’s nursery is located.

The Hillcrest High School seniors who work at the fair today are on the path to environmental management and natural resources, part of the College Academies and Careers at the school. This is a program developed by Springfield Community Schools and the Water Basin Committee. Students planted a tree last year with SSC in environmental sciences. This year they are studying basin science.

“And they can implement practical management plans, learn a kind of common goal so they can see the end product type,” Wilder said.

The trees they have potted on this day and the wild flowers that they start from the seeds collected by students in the SPS Greener Greenspace program will be sold at the Ozarks Basin Committee this spring at the sale of native plants. Proceeds go back to the program. Additional seeds will be donated to the Springfield Green County Heritage Seed Library.

Springfield Community School students plant a tree in the Ozarks Mother Garden Basin Committee

Wilder said the partnership between SPS and WCO arose when the restoration of the ecosystem in the Valley Park was in full swing and more native plants were needed. SPS wanted the students of the Academies program to have practical experience, so it was appropriate.

What students learn

Students have the opportunity to see if they want to pursue careers in environmental sciences and agriculture. And they can get three industry-recognized certificates. But there is a simpler goal as well.

“Honestly, just separate them, take them out of the quote, remove the mud to play with it – something a little different,” Wilder said.

Ella Reynolds is a Hillcross teenage student who spends her time outside and away from class on this hot late winter day.

“I’m more of an outdoor girl, so I like to get my hands dirty,” Reynolds said. “I love being outside.”

His goal is to enter Missouri State University and pursue a career in conservation. She said being part of the Way to manage the environment and being a natural resource has given her a jump start in her studies.

“It gave a lot of insight into the study of different plants, weather patterns and geography,” he said, “actually about plants and the environment.”

Her classmate Jenna Meyers also wants to go conservation.

“I love nature and all things nature,” Meyers said.

Meyers, who also loves plants and gets his hands dirty, said he has learned a lot by participating in this way of academies that he can use while pursuing a career.

“I learned about water pollution sources. I learned about water systems,” he said. “I learned about native plants and nature conservation. I learned about the importance of caring for our planet, and our teacher talks casually in class about the great impact of the environment, and I learn a lot from them. That too.”

SPS students plant a tree 2

Springfield Community School students plant a tree in the College and Career Academies program

Sharon Blauwelt, a teacher of the environment and their natural resources at Hillcrest, said her students will put into practice what they have learned while designing a national garden for the new King of Canopy in north Springfield.

Even if his students do not specialize in the natural sciences and the environment, he hopes that they will always remember what they learned in class.

“Just to appreciate the environment, to care more, to understand the importance of native plants, not to be afraid to go out and buy or build your own small garden, whether in a bucket or something else,” he said. . “They’re really excited about this, like, ‘Oh, I can grow myself now,’ and so I’m a little confident and just outside.”

Tyler Whitman plans to go into military service after graduating from Hillcross in 2024. He was busy at the fair, helping to perform various tasks.

She said the program has made her more concerned about the environment and caring for our natural areas.

“I’ve learned a lot about how the environment works,” he said, “so it made me stop when I saw a tin box or something and picked it up, so sometimes I could just walk in. cross the street and just start collecting trash and it makes me more anxious not to throw your trash out the car window. “

For Christy Wilder, it is helpful to see students from the moment they enter the program and explore soil structures and other things until they begin practical exercises, and finally when they finish classes.

“Of course my goal is for them to gain this experience, but after they leave they will be able to see it manually, no matter how much they want to enter the field,” he said. “For them to just look back 20 or 30 years later and say, ‘This was probably one of the best things I’ve ever had to do.’

Seed funds for the Reservoir Residents Program were received from the Joint Impact Grant from the Ozarks Public Foundation and the Darr Family Foundation.

Mike Cromray, executive director of the Water Basin Committee, said the long-term goal is to make the program completely sustainable.

Leave a Comment