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Along the side of the school, students from 6th to 8th grade prepare to install a variety of native plants, which were grown in the school’s greenhouse by kindergarten through 5th graders. Kay Johnson is the master gardener, and supervises the children in the greenhouse.
“When the little kids come up there, they’re in kindergarten, they plant a tomato seed, they don’t know what it is, but they plant it and then all of a sudden, it comes up like that. Boy they’re happy; they’re just tickled to death,” Johnson said.
The prairie plants are beneficial to the school. They have roots that are able to grow 15 feet deep, allowing them to filter the water runoff from the football field and directing it down to another rain garden. Ric Mayer is a volunteer from the Missouri Prairie Foundation, one of four organizations to help out at the school. He says the native plants have even more significance.
“From the prairie, we’ve gotten a lot of our different plants which have given us medicines. If we don’t teach kids about prairie, they won’t be interested in it, they won’t be the scientists of the future study in prairie; finding new plants, finding what plants can do for us,” Mayer said.
Every student had a chance to help in the planting process, as the school’s different classes took turns. Audrey Mace, an 8th grader at Hickory Hills, has participated both years.
“We've learned about it throughout the year, and throughout last year too, and all the environment issues we’ve been having so we’re trying to help that,” Mace said.
Hickory Hills will have a sale for the leftover plants on October 1st in their foyer.
The Greater Ozarks Audubon Society, Master Gardeners of Greene County and Missouri Master Naturalists – Springfield Plateau Chapter also assisted in Wednesday’s planting event.
For KSMU News, I’m Anna Thomas.