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The Suburbanite
  • Wetlands planned for Green Middle School

  • The City of Green and Green Local Schools announced at the district's April board meeting an agreement to develop a wetlands area in front of Green Middle School. The proposed project will help to alleviate drainage issues while also allowing students to study various aspects of the wetlands ecosystem.

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  • The City of Green and Green Local Schools announced at the district's April board meeting an agreement to develop a wetlands area in front of Green Middle School. The proposed project will help to alleviate drainage issues while also allowing students to study various aspects of the wetlands ecosystem.
    “This is a great project for the school system,” said Green Director of Operations Wendall Jackson. “The city will handle all the initial cost and development. Maintenance for the system will then be shared between the school system and the city. We get an educational wetlands area and the city solves a water problem. This is definitely a win-win situation for us."
    The project will start in early June and should be completed by the start of next school year. It will include a walkway around the pond area, a bridge and a gazebo.
    The area in front of the middle school is part of the overall drainage system for the area. There have been flooding issues lower in Hightower Estates across the street and this project should go a long way toward alleviating those issues.
     “We have been concerned about the flooding downstream,” said Paul Oberdorfer, Deputy Director of Public Services. “The wetlands will help in water retention and help control that flooding. It will also help in water purification. And it will provide an outdoor classroom for the students to use.”
    WETLANDS VISION
     As part of the plan for the project, the low-lying area will be excavated. This material will be used for embankments and fill along Steese Road, according to Oberdorfer. A retention vault on Steese Road, located in front of the school, will be moved up the road next to the intermediate school. This area is cleared of 4,000 cubic feet of sediment annually.
    Five low spots will make up the wetlands area, each with its own distinct type of vegetation. These will include two types of wet meadows, a sedge meadow, an upland prairie and an emergent wetland. To insure their chances of survival, the various types of vegetation will not be planted until August.  Total cost of the project will be $268,000, with the state putting 40 percent of the cost. There is also a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to help with the cost.
     Once construction starts, the project will encompass about 1.75 acres in front of the middle school. A small area to the east of the wetlands area in front of the parking lot will not be affected by the construction.
    The work will be handled by Tuscan, Inc.
     
    EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
     For the school system, the wetlands area will provide a learning laboratory for both Green Middle School and Green Intermediate students. Teachers and administrators are excited about the new project.
    Page 2 of 2 -  “This a good example of coordination between the city and schools,” said middle school principal Jeff Miller. “It will provide a lot of curriculum for our students and allow them a ‘hands-on’ experience instead of just watching something on a video or reading about it. They can actually experience it. And it will provide the community with a place they can take advantage of.”
      “This area will provide our students with a good opportunity to go out and learn about the wetlands,” added intermediate school assistant principal Ryan Kumph. “They will have the chance for a ‘hands-on’ experience with the ability to go out and explore and view the area during different stages. The teachers will be able to take the students out every day except in the winter months.”
    The obvious educational possibilities that the wetlands will open up have stimulated the science teachers. They are currently looking into ways to match the potential value of the area with the educational goals for each grade level.
    “We focus on the ecosystems,"  fifth-grade grade teacher Megan Cummins said. “This is just perfect for us. It gives them a chance to see how they are all connected. Basically, this allows us to take the students out to the wetlands and do real life studies.”
    “This matches our seventh-grade curriculum”  science teacher J.P. Reed added. “We are still looking to see how we can align it with the eighth-grade standards.”
    The wetlands will allow the schools to work with their curriculum and add a meaningful learning experience to the various science programs. It is especially important that it will offer opportunities that tie in with the current standards set forth by the Ohio Department of Education.
    Paula Warner, the school’s science content specialist, said that “the fourth-grade through eighth-grade curriculum aligns with the new Ohio standards content in science. The opportunity to use the wetlands for science is exciting. It is fabulous when students can collect actual data to interpret and analyze."