While I do not meet the age guidelines, it is the students that will be doing the work and the research. We are a Title One school that serves students mostly sixteen and over that have not done well at comprehensive high schools. We are working to provide challenging and relevant courses that prepare these students for post-secondary training in either trade schools, community colleges, or four year school. Our task is to give them the support that they need.
Last year students in another class of mine got the project started by soliciting donations of plants form a variety of sources to create a "native" garden. Students also pulled in members of the community to join us on the day that we planted the garden. Several students from that class are in classes this year and want to push the project to the next step.
I have two separate classes that are working on sustainability related issues. One is more focused on global warming, while the other class is looking at the problem at a deeper more systemic level. Both of these classes are well aware of the kinds of changes that may be facing them and want to do something about it. There are several components of this project that will provide the students both practical experience and a greater intellectual understanding of things they can do to "be the change they want to see in the world."
Students will research the components of creating a garden that captures carbon with perennial bushes and trees, provides food for people, and habitat and food for birds. As they do this they will examine diet, the distance that food travels before being consumed, the impact that our choices have on the environment, and more.
This year we are planning a school/community information day on global warming and actions people can take to reduce their carbon footprint. One of the ways we would want to use some of the grant money would be to provide locally grown organic foods for people as a part of this day.
A more significant part of the grant money will be used to design and build trellis' that will provide food, animal shelter,and shade for the South side of the building thus reducing our need for cooling and providing a comfortable learning environment. We will also build some raised beds for annual garden plants. The bulk of the grant money will be used to buy a wide variety of plants and trees (mostly) perennials that will be incorporated into the design that the students create. We will once again be inviting members of the neighborhood to join us for the work days of putting the garden into place. The goal is to more fully integrate the school grounds into the community as well as provide a living example of what people can do at their own home to contribute to healthier lifestyles personally and socially. This project will also become a foundation for future students learning about plant and human communities for years to come.