Past the baseball diamond, along a mulched path and over a small bridge at Kimberly Lane Elementary School, you could find students buzzing around like busy bees in the noonday sun May 22.
Fifth grader Andy Nelson of Maple Grove helps dig while a clump of third graders gather around chatting and eager to pick up a shovel.
Nelson and five other fifth graders that make up the school's Destination Imagination Team decided their challenge was going to be a community outreach project to help improve their school's budding nature center.
"The idea started small with having a few trees," Nelson said. "Then it grew bigger and the city got involved. It became a fiasco, but a really fun fiasco."
As part of the city of Plymouth’s Arbor Day Celebration, the city donated 16 trees, 12 shrubs and a variety of plants for a butterfly garden for the school's Nature Center.
Kimberly Lane Principal Gary Kipling designated May 22 as an All School Planting Day. Teachers signed their classrooms up for 30 minute time slots throughout the day and third, fourth and fifth grade classes broke off into groups to plant trees while first and second grade classes planted shrubs. Kindergarten classes helped plant a butterfly garden.
When complete the Kimberly Lane Nature Center will be wonderful place to gather for environmental classes, led by school naturalist Marleane Callaghan, or to visit on the weekends and enjoy a stroll through this mini-arboretum.
"Our DI teacher says we're leaving a legacy," Nelson said.
Even after Nelson and the other fifth graders move on from Kimberly Lane this year the Nature Center project will continue to grow.
Nelson said a Nature Club is being created for the school. Student Club members would water plants, help weed and maintain the garden during summer vacation.
The school wants to give special thanks to:
- Paul Buck, Plymouth Forester, who generously donated his time, all of the plants, trees and shrubs, as well as four wood duck houses and four bat houses.
- All Seasons Wild Bird Store of Wayzata, who donated three open platform bird feeders.
- Boy Scout Troop 539 for making four bluebird houses.
- DI Team Members: Sabrina Akselrod, Blake Eyer, Allan Grudsky, Emmy Markgraf, Andy Nelson and Lily Ozell
(Some information in the story was provided by a Wayzata Schools press release.)