The Beautification and Gardening committee works with the school staff and administration, along with the school district, to improve the campus setting, as well as create and maintain educational resources set in outdoor settings. These include the Chesak/Martin Butterfly Garden and the Chesak Vegetable Garden. Nearly all of the Reed Road Campus trees and all of the landscaping have been supported with help by the committee and by fundraising with
the Annual Flower sale.
The Chesak/Martin PTA and Beautification committee takes pride in improving the look of our campuses. Please visit the gardens often to see how they transform throughout the year. The gardens belong for all to enjoy, learn from and share. The Chesak vegetable garden has provided over 30,000 pounds of produce to the Grafton Food Pantry to date!
Read an article featuring our gardens here.
To Sponsor our garden and donate specifically to this fund, please CLICK HERE.
Our Butterfly Garden is recognized by the National Wildlife Federation and serves as a Monarch Way Station recognized by the University of Kansas. The garden meets all criteria of providing food, shelter, water and a place for wildlife to reproduce. The gardens contain dozens of natural plants and wildflowers. It serves the students in the district and is easily accessible to the public located off the main parking lot between Chesak and Martin schools. Volunteers can help with general maintenance around the planting beds. The garden beds are mostly self sustaining.
Did You Know? To become a recognized wildlife area by the National Wildlife Federation you must meet 4 criteria, a place for food, water, shelter and a place to raise wild life young.
Butterfly Garden Fun Facts:
►The Chesak/Martin Butterfly Garden originated at the old North School off Route 47.
►The beds are shaped like that of a butterfly’s wings.
►We have about 30 species of plants and grasses in the garden.
►To be certified as a Monarch Way Station you must have at least two species
of Milkweed for reproduction of caterpillars and a variety of nectar plants. We currently have two types of milkweed with a third to be seeded this fall.
►Butterflies need places to rest and obtain water. We have large stones, two butterfly houses and a water bath.
►The most common butterflies observed in our garden have been Monarch, Painted Lady and both the yellow and black swallowtail butterfly.
►Other insects that can be found in our garden include Praying mantis, bees, dragon flies, species of hunting wasps, lady bugs, Japanese beetles (a pest and non native) and yes, mosquitoes.
►We have at least one family of field mice living in the garden and have seen toads and frogs in the past. The mice help improve the soil through their burrowing; toads and frogs help control insects. Despite their presence, the mice family finds more than enough food in the garden and their population is control by wondering hunters like owls, hawks and snakes.
►Migratory birds visit the garden especially in the fall for a food source and help spread the seeds.
Benefits of an On-Campus Garden
Settings with trees and shrubs have shown to improve learning and education. Many studies support the notion that such environments have added benefit to learning, student participation, retention and attention span and improved testing scores.
An outdoor classroom relates to the environment, but it is also an interactive opportunity for students and adults to learn how math, literature, history, art, and music are influenced by nature and our natural resources.
from "Outdoor Classrooms..." Virginia Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts
Studies at the University of Illinois show that time in natural settings significantly reduces symptoms of attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder in children as young as age five. The research also shows the experience helps reduce negative stress and protects psychological well being, especially in children undergoing the most stressful life events.
from "Leave No Child Inside" Orion Magazine March/April 2007 read full article here
According to a range of studies, children in outdoor-education settings show increases in self-esteem, problem solving, and motivation to learn. “Natural spaces and materials stimulate children’s limitless imaginations,” says Robin Moore, an international authority on the design of environments for children’s play, learning, and education, “and serve as the medium of inventiveness and creativity.”
from "Leave No Child Inside" San Diego Earth Times April 2007 read full article here
One study in 2005 found that students in outdoor science programs improved their science testing scores by 27 percent.
from "Children & Nature Network: What the Research Shows" read full article here
The State Education and Environment Roundtable, consisting of 12 states’ education agencies, sought to identify successful environment based educational programs and conduct evaluations in various domains.
The 40 successful programs that use the EIC (Environment as an Integrative Context) design share the basic educational strategies of a multidisciplinary approach, hands-on learning experience, problem solving, team teaching, individualized design, and an emphasis on developing knowledge, understanding and appreciation for the environment. The documented impacts of the programs were found to be:
•Better performance on standardized achievement tests of reading, writing, math, social studies and science;
•Reduced classroom management and discipline problems;
•Increased attention and enthusiasm for learning; and greater pride and ownership of accomplishments.
from "Garden-Based Learning in Basic Education: A Historical Review" University of California. read full article here
The Chesak Vegetable Garden was started in the fall of 2009. It serves as an educational resource for students. In 2011, the PTA helped support the garden through some of its flower sale funds and
through care taking duties. Volunteers are greatly appreciated and will get to share in the vegetables harvested for donating their time. If you are interested in helping, let us know!