MILTON, Ga. — Five area schools will get to expand environmental education through projects of their own design thanks to grant money from the city of Milton.
To be considered, the school must be part of the Milton Evergreen School program. Projects that involved many students were encouraged to apply. Each school was awarded a grant of $250.
The funds are part of the 2013 Milton Evergreen School grant program. The city of Milton gets credit for the Milton Evergreen School program from the Atlanta Regional Commission for its Green Communities Certification. To date, National Wildlife Federation Schoolyard Habitats have been created at Cambridge High, Summit Hill Elementary, Crabapple Crossing Elementary, Northwestern Middle, Mill Springs Academy, St. Francis High and Hopewell Middle.
Crabapple Crossing Elementary has purchased two rain barrels with their funds, and the collected rainwater will be used to water the school’s organic garden. The barrels are old Coca-Cola syrup barrels that have been refurbished.
Currently, cold weather vegetables like lettuce and broccoli are growing in the garden.
“We thought we might do an end-of-the-year luncheon,” said fifth-grade teacher Paul Hulsing, a member of the school’s green team.
The barrels will later be painted by art students.
“It’s a cross-curriculum [project],” said third-grade teacher and green team member Kathy Devine. “We’re trying to bring in as many aspects as we can.”
Nearby, Northwestern Middle School elected to fund projects in its permaculture garden led by seventh-grade earth science teacher John Bartlett.
“The garden is a continuous ecosystem,” explained Cindy Eade, sustainability coordinator for the city of Milton. “Everything in the garden has a purpose.”
Through an afterschool art program with nonprofit organization Monfort’s Education Fund for Youth Art, the permaculture garden is decorated with paintings representing seed packets.
“The planting is all done by students,” said Bartlett. “All of it is edible.”
At Birmingham Falls Elementary, the grant money will be used to rent an earth balloon from Keep Roswell Beautiful. The structure is a globe that up to 30 students can get inside of and learn about ecology, geography, social studies and other subjects.
“Every child in the school will be able to get inside,” said Barbara Halbert, PTA co-president. “That will be a great awareness for the kids.”
Other grant recipients were Cambridge High School, which will put recycling bins in its classrooms, and Cogburn Woods Elementary School, which will begin an organic garden, become a National Wildlife Certified property and purchase a water quality testing kit.