When students return to school at Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School in September, they will be greeted by more than classmates and staff. A brand new garden at the school's entrance, will welcome them to a new school year. However, the new garden is not a conventional one; this one is drought resistant and saves water.
During the 2009–10 school year, ROP Landscaping Teacher Kevin Jordan assembled a team of students to redesign the school's front yard and entrance way. They decided to replace the high-maintenance water-soaking lawn with a low-maintenance garden. Mr. Jordan, a professional landscaper, and his students spent hours planning and designing the project, and will maintain the garden as a continuing student project.
"It gives our students a perspective of how hard you have to work and how much you have to sweat sometimes to accomplish something," said Jordan. "It's giving them a sense of achievement."
The garden project was funded through a $5,000 Sacramento Storm Quality Partnership Watershed Education Grant.
"The garden project serves two purposes: it provides landscaping students with the opportunity to work on a hands-on, team project that is on-going, and the school benefits from a beautiful new garden," said Palmiter Principal Lauren Roth.
California continues to face drought and water shortages. Drought resistant gardens are an eco-conscious alternative choice because they are easier to maintain and cost less to maintain. The use of drought-tolerant plants reduces time and money spent on irrigation.
Students from Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School and Elinor Lincoln Hickey Jr./Sr. High School, two Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) schools which share campus space, work on the garden project.
Leo A. Palmiter Jr./Sr. High School provides education to special needs students with the primary disability of Emotional Disturbance (ED) in grades 7-12. Services provided meet the unique educational, behavioral, and mental health needs of the students. The students are referred directly from the local school districts of Sacramento County that are unable to provide the more highly structured behavioral support program available at Palmiter.
Elinor Lincoln Hickey Jr./Sr. High School is a community school dedicated to providing students an opportunity to continue their education and experience significant positive personal change in their lives. Although the program focuses on academic success, the development of positive interpersonal skills and social interactions are important components of the school's program.