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Mile 108 Elementary plants butterfly garden

The garden is the legacy project for the school’s WILD School Program

Last week, Mile 108 Elementary School completed its WILD School program.

After three years of working with staff and students, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation facilitators Roland and Jessica Totzauer led the school in their legacy project. Mile 108 Elementary School teacher/librarian and WILD school co-ordinator Lynn McArthur said they chose to restore the garden in front of the school by planting a butterfly garden.

“This stays here as a legacy, and the teachers chose to do our gardens because they have been neglected for a couple of years,” McArthur said. “We decided to use as many native plants as possible, as well as some non-native plants just to add a little colour.

“The teachers did a lot of the initial weeding and we chose some intermediate students to come out and plant our perennials, and on Friday (June 2) we had 144 annuals that the whole school came out and planted.”

Teagan Larsen, Macy Cunningham and Frederick Hedtfeld all pitched in Thursday to help plant the garden. The trio said they were all happy to help, Hedtfeld noting he was especially happy to miss math class in exchange.

Larsen said she was looking forward to seeing how the garden will look when it blooms: “I think it’s coming together really good, it’s going to make the front of our school look way better.”

Cunningham, meanwhile, enjoyed the chance to do some weeding and get her hands dirty. “I have a big garden at home so I’m used to getting dirty, and I like plants,” she said.

Totzauer said he and Jessica have been a part of the WILD School program for years now. Their goal has always been to make teachers more comfortable in taking their classes outside to do environmental education.

“The environment is obviously a very important topic, and we think if we can encourage the kids and adults to appreciate the environment, there will be a higher level of care for the environment,” he said.

McArthur said that the program had a positive influence on Mile 108 Elementary, noting the children enjoyed getting outside and interacting with the environment. Over the years the Totzauers brought some “really interesting” workshops to the school, including teaching them about the different kinds of trees, how to identify animal tracks, what an invasive species is and how the water systems work.

“So the wild school program is taking the education outside and teaching kids about their environment,” McArthur said. “Jessica and Roland organized a lot of workshops for us — including one for teachers — and then we got the whole school out, which was really neat.”

Every time they did an activity with the students, McArthur said the Totzauers left behind booklets and guides for the teachers. In the future, they’ll be able to use these tools to repeat some of these activities with new students.

Totzauer hopes that teachers and students have taken the lessons to heart over the last few years.

“Hopefully we have instilled a higher level of caring and respect for nature, because all of our futures hang on it,” he said.

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Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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