Groundbreakings for two projects took place Friday morning at Garfield Elementary.
Recently the school was the recipient of the Outdoor Wildlife Learning Site (OWLS) grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife.
“We are very excited about this project. Work will be going on this summer,” announced Jennifer Husselman before the Garfield student body and staff members Friday morning.
OWLS is a Program sponsored by the Chickadee Checkoff of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. An OWLS is an outdoor environmental/ wildlife laboratory, at or near a school, consisting of one or more native habitat features. It is designed to attract native wildlife and to facilitate multi-discipline learning opportunities for students. The program involves several agencies and organizations interested in conservation education. An OWLS grant provides $2,000 for developing initial features.
“It will be an outdoor classroom. There will be a pond, a dry rock bed and Kansas native plants. It’s important for us to ve environmentally responsible. We will be calling our special area Garfield Grizzlies Beartanica,” Cathy Shaffer shared.
In addition to the OWLS space, Shaffer received an IDEA grant for a Garfield Garden, which includes raised beds. Students have planted vegetables and flowers so far.
Local sponsors assisting with the OWLS project are Ace Hardware of Augusta and Reddi Fence of Wichita. The landscaping was designed by Cammie Christner, landscape architect.
The second groundbreaking was for an expansion of the Jai Play soft surface area at Garfield.
Jai Play co-founder Jaime Simpson announced the work would begin immediately after school and she thanked everyone at Garfield for their support.
“The first donation to Jai Play came from Garfield teacher Judy Terick. We will then move on to Ewalt, then Robinson and Lincoln schools.”
A memorial donation by the Riley family will be used for a bench to be placed near the playground.