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MMS garden project reaches beyond beauty

Staff writer

After research and planning, Marion Middle School seventh and eighth students landscaped a flowerbed next to USD 408 Performing Arts Center on Monday that was in need of some tender loving care.

Science teacher Kelsey Metro spearheaded the project.

“It started out as a beautification project for the school,” Metro said. “As I thought more about the project and brainstormed with my para, we decided to make it into a huge multidisciplinary project.”

Metro’s students worked in partners. They started by researching different plants that would survive in Kansas. 

“They had to find out what zone Kansas was located and then determine the best plants for the area,” she said.

She also recruited her husband Jordan, USD 408’s accounting and business manager, to talk to the students about the different aspects of landscaping because of professional landscaping experience he had when they lived in Emporia.

Once research was complete, students measured the flowerbed. 

“They had to measure the placement of all things in the flowerbed including the big rocks, the drain, and handicap signs,” Metro said. “Once they had all of the measurements, the students made a scale drawing of the flowerbed and filled it however they wanted.”

She explained to students that not all of their plans might be able to be realized because they were working on a budget.

However, they were instructed to “dream big with their plans.” 

She said some students had plans that contained walking paths through flowers, and benches covered by flowering arches.  Others included had water features in their plans. 

Metro also had students write a narrative explaining designed their flowerbeds the way they did.

“It was like what a landscape architect would explain to a client when presenting their plan,” she said.  

The school staff also provided project support. 

“The school staff has been extremely helpful and supportive through all of this,” she said. “The custodians brought rock and got the area ready for us to pull weeds.” 

In order to complete the project, Metro also involved the community by asking for donations, plants, stones, and other material.

Marion Marble and Granite engraved a stone that rests in the center of the garden. It has each class’s high school graduation date on it as well as credits them with the design and creation.

Davie Hett, and Racheal and Darrin Dvorak donated dirt. The City of Marion donated a park bench.

Debbie Craig, Sherry Hess, Margaret Wilson, Connie Williams, Gayle Thomas, and the Dvoraks donated plants.

John Dvorak donated fertilizer, and Nick Kraus donated stepping stones.

Industrial education instructor Lucas King and his class also made box planters.

“I was pleased with the outpouring of generosity from our community,” Metro said.

Last modified April 29, 2015

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