The Garden - Cass Junior High's Living Classroom
Master Gardeners, affiliated with the University of Illinois, have been volunteering their time to educate and give guidance to the 7th grade students at Cass Junior High in the care and maintenance of our living classroom for the past 15 years. Known as the garden, this is a green space located on the south side of the building that allows students to reconnect with nature and learn about native, exotic and invasive plant species.
This space also allows students to spend time making observations, sketching, collecting and analyzing data and applying that data analysis to studies in plant anatomy and plant health, which also encompasses discussion of the role and importance of pollinators in our garden ecosystem. This natural space also provides our life science classes with specimens for use in our microscope and photosynthesis studies.
Most importantly, the students gain first-hand experience in observing the benefits of proper care of natural green spaces and will hopefully promote environmental stewardship as our students become young adults.
Following are some of our 7th grade students' comments related to the garden:
“If you don’t have the passion don’t do it, if you have the passion do it." -Tatiana Beard
“Gardening is very time consuming, but when seeing the finished result, the hard work paid off." -Anonymous
“Volunteering to clean gardens, cleaning up ecosystems, and caring for nature is really important, because it helps nature survive, so nature can grant our wishes of living as well.” -Diana Elhrisse.