Northwest NEWS

May 7, 2001


Dixie cups are out at Cottage Lake

by Bronwyn Wilson
   Senior Staff Reporter
   Push a seed into the dirt inside a Dixie cup. Water and set the cup on the window sill. This lesson on plants and the environment was once a familiar classroom project. Not anymore.
   "Now they'll do it outside in the environment it happens in," said Chris Berry, parent and Chair of the PTA as well as chair of the Student Garden Committee. "It's so natural to plant seeds outside where they grow," she added.
   Cottage Lake Elementary students will soon have the opportunity to grow all kinds of plants in a beautiful outdoor classroom.
   With raised flowerbeds surrounded by a courtyard, paved plazas and amphitheater-like seating areas, students will have a place to learn and experience hands-on gardening.
   "Every grade level has a raised bed and they're determining how to use it," said Berry.
   The outdoor classroom is currently under construction. The space where it is located will be the ideal setting for adapting science curriculum at all grade levels, such as "Seeds to Soup" and "Environments and Salmon."
   Students will learn about water wise gardening, habitat gardens, composting, and the life cycle of butterflies through a butterfly garden.
   There are three phases to the project and only the first phase has been completed so far. At this stage, students have eight raised planter boxes, three storage units and a three-bin composting area.
   Phase two will consist of two paved plazas featuring engraved bricks and two classroom-seating areas, which will be complemented by ceramic tiles painted by students. In addition, educational signs will be incorporated in the garden to aid with plant identification.
   Phase three includes the building of the north portion of the outdoor classroom and will have walkways, seating areas and a paved plaza. The