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Sprucing up the old school



Editor:

For several months, students, staff and parent volunteers at Gardnerville Elementary School have been hard at work designing and building a schoolyard habitat at the school. The schoolyard habitat is an outdoor classroom that offers many teaching and learning opportunities in English, science, mathematics, history, geography, social studies and art and the process of planning, creating and using a schoolyard habitat exposes children to unique hands-on experiences.

Just like the Carson Valley area itself, the GES schoolyard habitat features a central wetland and riparian area bordered to the east and west with plants and trees from Great Basin and Sierra Nevada ecoregions respectively. Last year, GES students planted seeds from native plants in containers and Douglas High School Ag and Natural Resource students nurtured the younger student’s seedlings over the winter in the DHS greenhouse.



In celebration of Earth Day, throughout this week GES students from all grade levels are planting native shrubs and trees in their schoolyard habitat.

On April 23, the DHS Environmental Club members helped the younger students lay trail and prepare wetland planting areas.



The project is planned through multiple phases and will change over the years as children from various classes build upon the existing work of past students.

The GES schoolyard habitat would not have been possible without the generous support of: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Schoolyard Habitat Program, The Nature Conservancy Carson River Project, A&A Construction, Ranch No. 1, Comstock Seed, Full Circle Compost, Plant It Nursery

The schoolyard habitat project at GES was planned and designed by a school-wide task force coordinated by Gardnerville Elementary School’s Norah Gastelum and Pamela Petite,

For additional background information on Schoolyard Habitats visit http://www.fws.gov/cno/docs/conservation/Region8SYHfactsheet.pdf

Duane Petite

Carson River Project Director