St. Joseph Academy (SJA) staff and students got their hands dirty to make Milwaukee’s South Side just a little bit greener!
Thanks to a Scooby-Doo Doo Good Grant, SJA staff members were able to plant a pollinator garden full of species that benefit bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. The garden, located at the corner of 17th and Oklahoma streets, was completed this summer. Resource Development Manager Kim Schubring and teachers Katie Schober, Jennifer Lubeck, and Marissa Tsicouris participated in the project.
Ten SJA students in grades 5-8 participated in design meetings to learn about the project and pollinators, designed their own model gardens, and compiled ideas to build a shared model for the final garden. The chosen plants, all native to the Wisconsin area, will support a variety of pollinating insects. Most native pollinator plants have well-developed root systems, decreasing erosion and absorbing more water during heavy rain events.
“Through this process, students developed research, design, teamwork, and communication skills,” said Katie Schober, middle school science teacher at SJA.
Of course, the flowers will add beauty to the SJA sign and entrance area. The types of plants featured in the garden are bellflowers, cardinal flowers, early sunflowers, coreopsis, wild lupines, coneflowers, royal catchfly, prairie onions, purple prairie coneflowers, prairie blazing stars, mountain mint, and three varieties of milkweed to support monarch butterflies.
Students are engaging in distance learning and were unable to help with the planting onsite; however, that did not stop SJA from making sure students were still deeply involved in the process. The students received their own plants and tools to do some gardening of their own at home. Eighth grade student Guadalupe Antonio Rubio enjoyed planning and designing the garden, as well as picking out the flowers.
Antonio Rubio learned that it is important to keep pollinator animals safe and healthy by providing food for them. “I think this is important because bees provide honey for us and that is something tasteful and joyful,” she said.