Congratulations Thurston High School
Thurston High School has been named a winner of the second annual Budding Botanist Grant, created to provide children with the opportunity to be connected to nature through garden-based learning. The Klorane Botanical Foundation has partnered with national nonprofit KidsGardening, a leader in the school gardening movement for over 37 years, to sponsor the Budding Botanist Grant.
To date, since 2018, 12 Budding Botanist grant packages valued at $3,000 each have been awarded to school educators within low-income schools to provide much-needed resources for creating gardens with their students. Thurston High School was chosen by the KidsGardening educational team and Klorane as one of six winners of the 2019 Budding Botanist Grant across the U.S. for its commitment to teaching environmental sustainability and biodiversity.
The school is utilizing the Budding Botanist Grant to support their goal of creating a new rain garden. Designed with plants that can hold water, rain gardens allow runoff to slowly infiltrate back into the soil as the plants, mulch, and soil naturally remove pollutants.
On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Klorane Botanical Foundation and KidsGardening helped to host the garden project and celebration at Thurston High School in honor of receiving the Budding Botanist Grant. The event concluded this year’s Budding Botanist Grant events held around the country and celebrated the students’ hard work and dedication to the school garden.
Redford Township Supervisor Tracey Schultz Kobylarz and Redford Township Clerk Garth Christie also joined in the celebration. To honor the achievements of the students and faculty, Supervisor Schultz Kobylarz presented a proclamation stating, “NOW, THEREFORE, this day, May 23, 2019, will be proclaimed as “Thurston High School 2019 Budding Botanist Grant Celebration Day.”
Thurston High School’s AP Environmental Science Class invited local 5th graders to the High School to teach them about various Environmental Science topics, such as invasive plant species and Eutrophication. Shortly after, all students went outside to the garden space located on the side of the school. Students then got into groups and began planting various native plants, such as bee balm and turtlehead, around the watershed.
“I think it’s really important that we won this grant because schools, especially in our area, don’t tend to get a lot of funding for a lot of projects,” said Thurston High School Senior and Grant Writer Sara Borsodi.
“So when we do have an opportunity to get this funding… it means a lot. It helps further our learning; these kids are learning from such an early age…this new type of science learning, that I didn’t have when I was younger. So the fact that they can come here and experience this science instead of just learning it in a textbook, I think, is amazing to truly understand the importance of environmental sustainability and biodiversity. They are able to carry that with them and be more educated teenagers and adults once they grow up and start to feel the impact on the world on an even higher level.”
“We just started AP Environmental Ed a couple of years ago, and one of the things I noticed in surveys is kids never go outside, and they had no idea about any of these environmental issues,” said Thurston High School AP Teacher Holly Hereau. “We wanted to get other students involved in science as well, having the continuity so the students get excited that they can do this at school.”
“It was really exciting to watch the multi-age learning going on between the High School AP students and the 5th graders,” said KidsGardening’s Beth Saunders. “The High School students did an amazing job teaching Environmental Science concepts to the 5th graders, and then they got to come out and do a planting activity, replacing invasive species with native plants. The students were able to do this work because of the Budding Botanist grant to buy the plants and
continue to do the work they have been doing by increasing biodiversity and soil health in the land around them.”
Photos – Klorane Botanical Foundation