Kimball Elementary School Community Forest Garden
A 9500-square foot turf grass field adjacent to Kimball Elementary School in Washington, DC, was serving no environmental, educational, recreational, or community purpose. Through partnerships with the school and local community organizations, Lands and Waters is in the process of converting this unused space into an outdoor classroom, wildlife habitat, and community park. Project components include creating a mulched path that meanders through the area and connects the front and back of the school grounds, benches to accommodate a class of students, native plant communities representative of an upland forest, and educational signs explaining the importance of forest habitats and "living classrooms."
Lanier Middle School Courtyard Project
An enclosed courtyard at Lanier Middle School in Fairfax, VA, was dominated by turf grass and mostly unused by students and staff. In partnership with the school and the county, Lands and Waters is creating a series of ecosystems that include a bog, a vernal pool (created from a pond already in the courtyard), a riparian area, a meadow, and plantings representative of upland woodland forest. Students from the school's Eco Club, who have worked closely besides Lands and Waters staff on much of the project, also recently installed raised beds (which they'd built) for vegetable gardens in one area of the courtyard. The work is ongoing, with plans to build a circulating stream powered by solar energy (designed by students) and a small-scale indoor composting system to curb food waste at the school and provide rich soil with which to continue plantings.