Meadowscaping for Biodiversity
Meadowscaping for Biodiversity is a hopeful, project-based, outdoor environmental education program that gives middle school youth (and adults!) the tools to understand biodiversity and to become citizen scientists and stewards of the earth. Last summer, we successfully piloted this program by repurposing turf lawn and planting a 400 sq. ft. meadow on the east lawn of Christ Church Episcopal, 750 Main St., in downtown Waltham. We are expanding this site this summer (2015) to 600 sq. ft. with the help of local Summer Eco-Camp participants and volunteers. We are also in negotiations for second and third sites in a close-by city.
In our forward-looking program, youth learn first about the elements of biodiversity and ecosystems gardens. Youth work in teams, guided by a science teacher, college student mentors, and subject matter experts. Each team develops a research study and designs a landscape that fits their research objectives. A team might choose to compare the number of pollinators visiting their plot with pollinators on a similar size area of lawn. The youth plant native flowers, grasses, and shrubs, observe and maintain their sites, and, at program’s end, they report on findings at a community event.