Seward Rain Garden Visit

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November 2018 | by Karen Utter and Dawn Pape

Thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, Karen Utter’s E1(1st–3rd grade) science classes had guest teacher Dawn Pape teach two environmental lessons to Karen’s 11 classes. The first lesson was about water and the second was about pollinators. A person might wonder how these two topics are connected. The answer is native plants!

During the water lesson, students learned how water is used in our country, how much fresh water is available on our planet, problems facing our water, and ways to protect water. More specifically, the students reviewed the water cycle and saw how human activities are interrupting this natural process, by pumping up groundwater faster than it is being replaced and by not allowing water to soak in. Next, students focused on solutions

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to keeping water and streets clean and different ways to mimic mother nature by getting the water to soak in. Finally, we visited our school’s rain garden to demonstrate how the dirty water from our parking lot is getting filtered by the native plants in the rain garden in front of the school.*

Dawn’s next lesson taught how native plants are not only good for planting in rain gardens, but are critical in helping our pollinators because they provide superior nutrition than non-native and/or cultivated plants. Dawn performed her children’s book “Mason Meets a Mason Bee,” as a puppet show. It focuses on native bees, their life cycles, and how they differ from the beloved honey bee.

*The rain garden was initially funded with a grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.