Thursday, December 4, 2008

schools and Monarch Waystations

Numerous Michigan schools have registered their butterfly gardens as Monarch Waystations.

As their website says "...we need to create, conserve, and protect milkweed/monarch habitats. We need you to help us and help monarchs by creating "Monarch Waystations" (monarch habitats) in home gardens, at schools, businesses, parks, zoos, nature centers, along roadsides, and on other unused plots of land. ... By creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation you are contributing to monarch conservation, an effort that will help assure the preservation of the species and the continuation of the spectacular monarch migration phenomenon."

Some include:

Evergreen Elementary Butterfly Garden Allendale MI 49401

Way Elementary School Bloomfield Hills MI 48302

West Shore-Torrey Hill Elementary Fenton MI 48430

Gilbey Elementary School Kalamazoo MI 49009

St. Joseph School Lake Orion MI 48362

Hugger Elementary Outdoor Classroom Rochester MI 48306

Presbyterian Camps Butterfly Garden Saugutuck MI 49453

Lakeshore High School Stevensville MI 49127

Fischer Elementary School Taylor MI 48180

Let me know if your school, camp or other youth project is not listed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Great teachers - Burt Barnes

Burt Barnes is truly a 'teacher of teachers.'

These photos are from October 2006. Thanks to Toni H. for the photos.

Great teacher - Dorothy Blanchard

Dorothy Blanchard of Ypsilanti has introduced thousands of kids to frogs, snakes, and other creatures of our Michigan woods and waters.

These photos are from a workshop in April, 2005.

Morenci High School club boosts water quality

On Earth Day, 2008, the Green Earth Club of Morenci High School (GECKOs) cleaned up a local stream and a park. They are part of Bean/Tiffin Watershed Coalition and live near Morenci, Michigan, on a tributary of the Maumee River.

See their photos at

Some of these young people have been helping the creek since 2004. See their poetry and more photos at

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

from Florida - a Middle School garden on YouTube

I've made an exception to our usual Michigan focus, to highlight a video of a butterfly garden at Lyons Creek Middle School, Coconut Creek (Broward County) Florida.

Monday, October 20, 2008

butterfly garden at Burns Park Elementary School

Parents and kids in the 'Penguin Club' have planted a butterfly garden next to the school building, in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA.

They planted about 250 plugs in October 2008.

See their photos at

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Kids gazebo at Mary McCann Park

Along with nature trails and native plants, this park includes a gazebo-style Teaching Station where kids can listen and learn.

It's located at Mary McCann Park, in York Township between Ann Arbor and Milan, MI.

link here

Here is a photo of the Teaching Station, sans roof and bench boards. The octagonal base is roughly 21 feet across. Three ranks of tri-fold benches will face the open area. The two curving, 5' x 30' beds lie downslope to right and left at a distance of about 30 feet from the teaching station's perimeter


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

STEPS for Kids at Pine Lake Village Co-op

Steps For Kids is a small nonprofit organization whose goals are grade school educational support and environmental education. It is based in Ann Arbor on the grounds of Pine Lake Village Co-op, but all activities are open to friends and neighbors. We are all volunteers; we have no paid staff.

These are pictures from late May, at which about 25 adults and children volunteered to pick up trash, plant native plants, and pull weeds around a freshwater pond. Everyone had a great time on a beautiful day with the rare opportunity to be inside the fence. Fishing for trash with little nets was the favorite activity of many kids. We've since had two more volunteer work days, and mid-summer pictures follow soon.

Please visit to see more of our activities, and to see how you can help us by donating gardening tools and supplies, your own time and skills, or much needed financial assistance.

(photos and write-up from Steps for Kids volunteers.)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Scout projects at Webster Church

Scouts from Troop 422 have built a shelter, raised beds and other amenities at Webster Church, near Dexter, Michigan.

(Photos by C.B.)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wildflower Prairie at Ann Arbor Learning Community

Kids, teachers and parents at the Ann Arbor Learning Community have started a wildflower prairie with plants they grew from seed. They're hoping to attract butterflies and songbirds.

They started early in the season to remove turfgrass from their site. (I think this was in 2007)

(photo from K.K)

By July 2008, the prairie was looking terrific. (More photos coming soon.)

AALC is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, near State St. and Ellsworth Rd.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Kazoo School

Kazoo School includes in its beliefs "We believe in furthering the development of an environmental ethic in all students by means of our educational program."

The students at Kazoo School participated enthusiastically in planting a prairie garden on the school grounds in June 2008. They planted a wide variety of prairie species, plus some wetland species in an area that gets a lot of storm water runoff.

The school adjoins the historic Kleinstuck Preserve in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is southwest of Oakland Drive and Howard St.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

native plants at Ralph Bunch Elementary School

Children, parents and community volunteers have created an urban oasis with native plants at with Ralph Bunche Elementary School in Detroit Michigan.

The Phytoremediation and Wildflower Garden was designed and initiated in Spring 2002.

We run annual workshops in the native ecosystem, phytoremediation and identifying native plants with the children in science classes or in the after school program.

In the spring and over the summer we have volunteer possibilities for anyone interested in maintaining the garden. Through this hands-on experience you can learn about the native plants and ecology. In the fall we have a Saturday in October dedicated for seed collection and distribution for the general public.

(photos and text by V. S.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Collecting Seeds of Native Plants

Collecting seeds can be fun and is a good way to learn about native plants.

More information is coming soon on this school-based program in southeast Michigan.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Curriculum materials on pollinators

Teachers or other adults who want to help kids learn about pollination have a great resource available.

Nature's Partners is an inquiry learning-based curriculum for young people in the 3rd through
the 6th grade.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Across North America, kids are helping the environment with butterfly gardens, rain gardens, tree-planting, prairies and beyond.

Sometimes these projects are connected to schools, Scouts, or other organizations. Others are simply kids' response to what they see and hear around tem.

The goal of this blog is to propagate ideas and inspiration.

Check it out, and feel free to offer infor about your projects.

Suggestions of related information are also welcome.