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The grant would be used to purchase native species of plants that attract butterflies, birds and more with a sense of home! In addition the grant will be used to purchase materials for bird feeders and seating areas. Any additional grant funds will be used for watering cans, materials to make recycled wind chimes, and paint for making motivational signs for children.
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It can often be hard for high school students to find time to appreciate nature. As environmental issues grow more pressing, however, apathy toward the natural world is a crucial issue that must be addressed. Our proposed project would strive to expose students to local wildlife by setting up several bird feeders in our school’s courtyard. We would also set up a live camera to monitor the bird feeder, which would allow students to observe the birds remotely. The footage could also be shared with the public through a blog or through other forms of social media. In addition to promoting an appreciation for nature among students, this campaign would also benefit local bird species. Bird feeders provide additional nourishment to supplement natural food sources. This is extremely important in the winter when food in the wild is scarce and birds face harsh competition for resources. In other seasons, feeders can also help nesting parents and migrating birds, who require more food than usual in order to sustain themselves and their families. Overall, this is a campaign that we hope would help both humans and the natural environment while reinforcing the connection between the two.
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In the fall, we will dig a trench, fill it with maple logs from a tree that was cut down a couple of years ago, branches, etc. We will add composted leaves from our town, surround it with straw bales, and plant cover crops of winter rye and hairy vetch. In the spring, we will plant peas, which fix nitrogen, as well as being delicious. We would research other plants that would make sense for the area: maybe mushrooms, currants and blueberries. The result we would hope for would be good soil with lots of microorganism and edible plants for ourselves and the birds successfully grown from it. We would photograph it, and science classes could analyze the soil and micro-organisms. We would also use this as a demonstration of hugelkultur for students at all our schools and for the community - posting on a website and hosting visits.
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We hope to get a proclamation at City Hall at the first council meeting when the school year begins in September.
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The project will plant milkweed seeds in a location near the school. This garden will be cultivated throughout the warmer seasons in the hopes that butterflies will be able to rest and eat. Once the milkweed seeds are successfully grown, more plants such as rue, dill, and parsley will be introduced to attract a greater variety of butterflies.
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The project will set up a camera trap in our school's courtyard with a birdfeeder next to it. The camera trap will capture what birds come.
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I will utilize social media to spread the word on the issue, to help reach as far and as many people as possible.
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We are located on a USDA research facility (although no funding for this project is from them), and have a lot of space to expand our bee program and project. Our high school students are interested in creating a program and a traveling trunk for younger students to learn about bees. We know that the population of honey bees is decreasing all of the time. Since we are a STEM center with programming for school age children and community stakeholders, we are going to develop kid-friendly information to help maintain and increase the bee population in our area. We have researched the type of foliage we need to plant, the equipment needed for our project, signage we need around the property, safety precautions, and citizen science activities about bees. Our students will be completing all of these research topics and putting them into action.
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Our goal is to motivate and inspire change, with the hopes that the initiatives introduced will multiply and spread throughout our community, state and WORLD!
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We are collecting plastics from campus trash and recycle bins that will be used for the art install. We will have our first showing on the summer solstice. It will stay on campus for a week and then will be displayed at community centers.

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