Period 6 Environmental Impact Project - AHS Courtyard Redesign




To do during 10/9/2012 Double Period:
  1. Review Rainscaping Iowa Resources for dealing with stormwater.
  • Visit the Rainscaping website
  • Click on the "Practices" tab, and read through all of the practices listed on the left-hand side
    • There are links to fact sheets, etc. on the right-hand side of the screen after clicking on each practice.
  • Which practices could be applied to the AHS courtyard in order to manage the stormwater?
  • Write about several practices that could apply to the AHS Courtyard - diagram where they might be located in the courtyard and explain how they work and why you chose them. 
        2.  Choosing native plants suitable for the AHS Courtyard.
  • Visit the "Recommended Plants" section of Inger Lamb's Prairie Landscapes website
  • Find as many native plants that would work for our AHS Courtyard as you can from the documents on Inger's website
  • Work with other students to add your plant choies to the following list of suitable plants (you must be signed in to your Google account that is part of our classes group
Plants suitable for the AHS Courtyard (include height and bloom month in parentheses following each plant).
  • example plant (3-4',  May - July)
  • dotted d blazing (1-2' dry soils)
  • cream gentian(1-2 mod moist soil)
  • heat leaved alexanders(1-3' mod moist soil)
  • early blue violet(0.5-1' mod dry soil)
  • orange cane flower(2-4' mod dry soil)
  • butterfly milk weed(1-4' late spring)
  • royal caten fly(2-4' mod soil)
  • blue cardinal flower(1-3' fall/december, medium-wet moisture, full sun and part shade)
  • cardinal flower (2-3' moist soil)
  • white snake root (2-3' sun exposure savanah/woodland)
  • Spotted bee balm (1-2' dry soil)
  • prairie phlox (24inches mesic)






Native plants in our greenhouse (reviewed by 1st, 3rd, and 6th periods)(**=suitable for our project, ??=problematic for our project):
  • **Riddel's Goldenrod** = 5 plants
  • ??Prairie Cordgrass?? wet area and tall = 35 plants
  • ??Riverbank Rye?? Native? = 14 plants
  • ??Bottlebrush sedge?? Wet area only = 5 plants
  • **Coreopsis** = 49 plants
  • **Porcupine Grass** = 6 plants
  • ??Large Leaf wild indigo?? Bloom month? = 42 plants
  • **Butterfly Milkweed** = 7 plants
  • ??Evening Primrose?? height = 7 plants
  • **Gray Goldenrod** = 7 plants
  • **Sideoats Grama** = 11 plants
  • ??Smooth Oxeye?? Bloom month? = 14 plants
  • **Sky Blue Aster = 196 plants**
  • **Purple Coneflower = 196 plants**
  • **Rough Blazing Star = 87 plants**
  • ??Compass Plants?? Height? = 4 bunches (1 large, 1 medium, 2 small)
  • ??Canada Lettuce?? = 27 plants
  • **Prairie Dropseed = 35 plants**
  • **New England Aster = 14 plants**
  • **False Boneset** = 56 plants


Notes from reviewing surveys (reviewed by 1st, 3rd, and 6th periods):
  • Use mostly for socializing/hanging out and fresh air. 
  • Rainwater feature= Yes 
  • Fabric shade= Yes
  • Clock tower= Maybe
  • Tables and benches= Yes
  • Drinking fountain= Yes
  • Pond/Marsh= No
  • Frisbee Golf Hole= No
  • Student artwork/more color= Yes
  • Trellis up against wall with vines= Maybe 
  • Brick paver walkways= Maybe
  • Changes additions students would like to see 
    • Doors so you don't get locked outside 
    • Vegetable garden-Compost area if there is a vegetable garden 
    • Window with snacks and beverages 
    • Tether ball
    • More grass areas 
    • Bench swing
    • Foursquare 
    • Speakers
    • Mini concerts for students to sing/play instrument-have outdoor plug
    • Trash cans by each door 
    • Pretty flowers more appealing to the eye.
    • Basketball hoop
    • Swings
    • Alternative energy
    • Needs to be more handicap accesable
    • ball pen(place to hold basketballs)



Notes from Jim Harbaugh's visit:
  • First question to ask yourself is "What is the intended use?"



Useful things from the WildOnes article:
  • Native Plantings in urban-small-scale settings haven't gone well
  • Consider the height of plants
  • Substituting plants for other ones can have a negative effect
  • People thought flower beds would be the best way - can cause weeds and messes
  • More diversity of plants can be a better look
  • Pull the weeds for the first couple of years - just one year of weeds can make a site a challenge
  • Spot check for weeds in early spring and casually throughout the seasons
  • Observe failed sites and look at what went wrong
  • Introducing new species must happen in a timely fasion
  • Do not add mulch to native plantings
  • Herbicide can be used for a couple of years
  • Native planting systems should be routinely monitored for at least two growing seasons




What are the major things that need to be addressed by the project?
  • Needs to be sustainable
  • Decisions have to be good for the environment in the long run
  • Control stormwater from flowing into the storm sewers
  • Needs to be a good place to be without trash
  • Research types of native plants to use
  • Plant more flowers
  • Need more seating and more trash cans
  • Cullinan's corner
    • flowers
    • tree?
    • bench
    • shade
    • His name on something
    • garden path 
    • Plaque
    • Pond with fountain
    • waterfall
    • birdbath
    • bird feeder
    • Bird Houses
  • Shade
  • Water fountain
  • Less concrete
  • More grass
  • Cute little pond thing
  • Recycle bins
  • Can we get an apple tree?

Questions that the class has about the project:
  • What are the limitations to what we can do (i.e. removing concrete?)
  • Money/Budget
  • How are we going to divide it into sections?
  • Is the class going to have a say in the changes?
  • What materials will we need



What do we need to learn in order to make informed decisions about the project?
  • What kind of plants will come back up next year?
  • What kinds are sustainable/native?
  • What might harm the area?
  • How the native environment works?
  • What is beneficial for the area?


Expertise that we need to bring in to help us learn those things along with questions we would ask them:
  • Landscaper
  • Plant experts
  • Soil experts
  • Bird person
  • Sustainability Expert - stormwater specialist





Here are the overall Environmental Impact Project Goals:
  • Deepen knowledge about some aspect of environmental science 
  • Give something back to your community in order to learn about the value of civic responsibility
  • Become more connected to your community
  • Develop project management/leadership skills
  • Develop better written and verbal communication skills
  • Explore personal and career interests

Original Main Courtyard Ideas:
  • Work with professionals to design and make 1 sign
    • Native Plantings - benefits, identification, and/or how to implement such plantings
  • Gather feedback from school administration about goals for the courtyard
  • Gather feedback from students about goals for the courtyard
  • Gather feedback from teachers/staff about goals for the courtyard
  • Work with professionals to design sustainable courtyard
  • Gather feedback from stakeholders about designs for the courtyard
  • Communicate the final design to stakeholders
  • Order plants and other materials necessary
  • Reconstruct the courtyard according to plans

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