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Planting for the future at Erwin

By Time Reaves

EHS – Local students beautified Erwin High and gained real-world environmental science experience over the weekend!

Erwin’s Eco Club and AP Environmental Science class partnered with Youth for Environmental Stewardship and Asheville GreenWorks to plant flowering trees around the school campus on Sunday. Twelve student volunteers from Erwin High, North Buncombe High, Nesbitt Discovery Academy, and Asheville High spent the day planting native serviceberry and dogwood trees along sidewalks. Asheville GreenWorks sponsored the project through a grant that senior Brenda Vazquez-Alvarado wrote for her senior project.

“This idea came from learning about all of the environmental impacts and benefits of trees and how they would create a more suitable environment for students,” Ms. Vazquez-Alvarado said. “Knowing that I will get to see these trees bloom and grow leaves me with a feeling of accomplishment and great pride.”

Erwin science teacher and Eco Club sponsor Lily Dancy-Jones helped organize the event. A North Carolina Certified Environmental Educator, Dancy-Jones said she’s aware of the need for students to connect to nature, so she incorporates environmental education methods in her classroom.

Students have added several native gardens to campus, including a pollinator garden that serves as a monarch waystation. This school year, they have raised monarch butterflies from caterpillars and used the experience to provide authentic examples of complex topics in biology. The experiences have given students a hands-on understanding of stewardship and sustainability by connecting them to the schoolyard habitat.

“Our schoolyard habitat/pollinator garden is a learning space but also a symbol to our students and community that we take pride in our campus,” Ms. Dancy-Jones said. “We’re working to make our outdoor spaces serve not only our human community but the biological communities that provide us with ecosystem services like clean air and water.”

BCS Communications Department

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