Houghton Elementary ~ K-5

(Houghton-Portage Township School District)

Project Description

School Courtyard Renovations

We will renovate and expand our school courtyard garden to include several separate garden plots, wheelchair accessible raised beds, weather stations, and an outdoor learning space. We will engage students in stewardship activities in the courtyard and on the edge of the trail: including planning, planting, and maintaining the garden plots; removal of knapweed and replacing with native plants; creating signs to identify tree species within the courtyard; and creating and maintaining a pollinator garden. An outdoor learning space will be developed using local boulders; planting trees (two different species of apple trees); creating bee signage for students to learn more about honey bees and how/why they are important pollinators in our area; and purchasing books for our library for all grade levels to use in the school courtyard learning space during instructional and/or learning opportunities.

Teachers (* Lead teacher)

Teachers (lead teacher w/ *)
Gael Filpus*
Anders Hill, Principal
Lily Behm
Melissa Hronkin
Laurel Givens
Alana Nolan
Lisa Ronis

Community Partners

Community Partners
Natural Seating/Woodwork-Eli Jensen
Parent Volunteer-Kathleen Harter
John Wheeler Memorial Fund-Bob Wheeler

Project Photos

Two abandoned garden beds in the Houghton Elementary School courtyard full of knapweed.

Two abandoned garden beds in the Houghton Elementary School courtyard full of knapweed.

A small rock garden in the courtyard at Houghton Elementary School full of knapweed.

A small rock garden in the courtyard at Houghton Elementary School full of knapweed.

Volunteers and LSSI Team members working to get rid of invasive knapweed in the courtyard area at Houghton Elementary School.

Volunteers and LSSI Team members working to get rid of invasive knapweed in the courtyard area at Houghton Elementary School.

Students from Mrs. Givens’ 2nd grade class are learning how to use a hand-cranked apple cider press.

Students from Mrs. Givens’ 2nd grade class are learning how to use a hand-cranked apple cider press.

Students created their own honey bee drawings to add to a large honeycomb that covered a wall in the art room.

Students created their own honey bee drawings to add to a large honeycomb that covered a wall in the art room.

Elementary Art Teacher, Mrs. Hronkin, works  just as hard as her honey bees to keep them 
going each year for students to learn about.

Elementary Art Teacher, Mrs. Hronkin, works just as hard as her honey bees to keep them going each year for students to learn about.

Community Partner, Kathleen Harter, assists students from Mrs. Nolan´s Kindergarten class during apple cider-making using a hand-cranked apple cider press.

Community Partner, Kathleen Harter, assists students from Mrs. Nolan´s Kindergarten class during apple cider-making using a hand-cranked apple cider press.