G.T. Norman students get hands-on planting experience

G.T. Norman students (from left) Eddie Franklin and Gavin Schultz sit and plant native flora in the rain garden on Wednesday. The garden project was funded by Cargill. (Pioneer photos/Meghan Gunther-Haas)

Third- through fifth-grade students worked throughout the morning, cultivating, planting and mulching in the rain garden.

REED CITY — Armed with handheld cultivators and plastic trowels, G.T. Norman third- through fifth-graders spent Wednesday morning getting their hands dirty while helping the environment.

Groups of students worked throughout the morning, digging holes, planting and spreading mulch in the school’s new rain garden, which was funded by Cargill. Through the partnership of Cargill, the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly and YouthWorks, students planted approximately 15 native species, such as wild lupine, common milkweed, black-eyed Susans, sneezeweed, blazing stars, purple coneflowers and more.

“A lot of plants we have will be good for butterflies and  bees,” said Pat Jarrett, of the MRWA, noting the garden will collect rain water runoff from entering the watershed. “I hope the students take away from this the measures they can take to protect the environment.”

G.T. Norman Principal DeAnna Goodman said students have been learning about plants and the environment in their science classes. The morning event ties the students’ lessons with a chance to get their hands dirty.

“We have science classes out here,” she said. “We’re getting away from gardening. Hopefully with this, the students will know the importance of growing their own food and making a difference.”

(From left) Derrick Wetherell and Nate Spedowski were two of the first students to work on the garden, and began the morning by cultivating and removing rocks.

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Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at mhaas@pioneergroup.com.

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