FROM THE TRAILHEAD
Spring is finally here, and Crews across the state are finishing up their year-long projects this month. Some schools are preparing gardens for pollinators and warmer months, while others are planning special Earth Day activities.
Black Hawk Middle School students in Eagan are organizing a conservation scavenger hunt for Earth Day. They are using this month to educate other students on the importance of recycling with weekly school announcements and educational videos shown in homerooms.
Many of these spring projects will be shared at the end-of-year Conservation Celebration on May 6th. At the event, a panel of judges will select three outstanding projects to be awarded an additional grant to support future activities.
Last month, Conservation Crew members at John Adams Middle School in Rochester were featured in the Star Tribune for their leadership and ongoing work to install bicycle repair stations near the school. The article featured students across the state working to find eco-friendly solutions. Students in our youth program are encouraged to think creatively and develop ideas to tackle the conservation issues they care about.
Crew teacher Jess Paulson from Jane Goodall Environmental Science Academy has spent the last year working with her Crew students on nature journaling. “It encourages students to disconnect for a short period of time from technology and purposefully connect to nature,” remarks Paulson.
Journaling allows students to reflect on their projects while connecting to nature and de-stressing. Learn how to get started on your own nature journal.
In anticipation of this spring's pollinator garden, students from Pillager Public School took advantage of the Conservation Crew’s access to conservation experts to connect with a specialist from the Soil and Water Conservation District who talked about soil health and pollinators.
Many students are digging deeper by researching native plants they find in their home gardens. Thinking critically about which plants to add to their school garden, students also track which plants attract pollinators.
Using a service-learning model, Conservation Crew helps students build ownership and responsibility by providing them with the resources they need.
Amy Bode, Crew teacher from Hopkins Junior High, has encouraged her students to think outside the box when coming up with ideas for spring projects:
“The students’ creativity blossomed when they were brainstorming conservation project ideas. A few students wanted to do a garden on the roof... not the most realistic idea, but it’s exciting to see their imagination come to life!”