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HHS Plans to Keep Campus "Wild"
Posted On:
Wednesday, May 03, 2017
Science teachers Janet Ort and Kevin Butler
Science teachers Janet Ort and Kevin Butler

From the Hoover Sun
April 28, 2017
Sydney Cromwell

Environmental science teachers Janet Ort and Kevin Butler want to make sure their students don’t forget about Hoover High School’s wild neighbors. This year, the pair started on a project to make sure Alabama’s wildlife has a home on the school campus.

Around the school’s southwest entrance to campus on Buccaneer Drive, the signs of local wildlife are evident: a songbird resting on a tree branch, bees clustering over spring flowers and a tuft of fur left behind by a deer. Some species, called pollinators, are crucial to the survival of plants in the area.

“When we think of pollinators, bees are the first thing that come to mind. But pollinators are bats and moths, some butterflies and bees of course, but they’re very important to agriculture, to our trees, to everything working at the right time,” Ort said.

Ort and Butler want to build a pollinator garden at that entrance to campus. This year, they started with a basic design for the garden and the planting of 20 red oak saplings. However, Butler imagines this as a 15-year or more project with a variety of native species, bird and insect nesting sites, educational signs and a sculpture of the school’s initials covered in climbing vines.

“Any time you can get kids outside the classroom to see a true application of what we’ve been talking about, then it just enhances their education,” Butler said. “We can have a long and lasting impact, and they can see the transition over time.”

Ort said the pollinator garden will be a chance for students to see concepts brought from the environmental science classroom to life. The teachers want this to be a student-led project that can cross over to projects with engineering and art students to complete the garden.

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