Madison Central Montessori School - Nurturing Green Minds Program - 2009

The Dane County Environmental Council awarded Madison Central Montessori School $398.00 in the 2009 grant cycle for the purchase of materials to construct a water catchment garden as well as the materials to construct a solar trellis. This much appreciated award from DCEC is permitting us to address our Nurturing Green Minds program goals, which include:

Goal 1: To increase our students’ awareness and understanding of practical methods to reduce fossil fuel consumption by applying green building techniques at our school.

Goal 2: To increase our students’ awareness and understanding of surface runoff by catching and retaining the rainwater that carries surface pollutants into the areas/ waterways.

Progress to date:
The environmental and science concepts illustrated by the construction of these two projects are woven into the entire 2009-2010 science curriculum. Specifically, the construction of the solar trellis and the water catchment garden will be incorporated in the following science units:

  • Lake Study Unit - fall 2009
  • Alternative Energy Unit – winter 2009-10
  • Garden and Soil Science Unit – spring 2010

The tangible completion of these goals will be in the construction of the projects themselves. The timeline for this is outlined below.

The awareness and understanding components of these goals are being addressed during planning and will be further reinforced during construction of the projects. Throughout the school year, we will use the solar trellis, water catchment garden, as well as the rain gardens and water barrels –previously funded by the DCEC – to discuss the environmental issues concerning our area lakes and how individuals can have a positive impact on our environment.

Construction timeline:
Implementation of Goal 1: Student construction of the solar trellis began in October 2009. Students, in the Lake Study unit – who are studying the lakes and watershed of the Madison area –are currently designing and constructing the planter boxes that will contain the plants that will grow on the solar trellis itself. The trellis of the solar trellis will be built in January and February 2010 in conjunction with the Alternative Energy unit. The solar trellis will be fully completed in spring with the Garden and Soil unit when students will plant the boxes with a vine plant such as morning glories and/or pole beans that will cover the trellis and shade the adolescent classroom during the hot summer months. The goal of which is to use passive solar techniques to cut down on the use of Fossil Fuels to cool the building.

Implementation of Goal 2: Construction of the water catchment garden project began in October 2009 with adolescent students in the Lake Study unit planning and organizing the construction of the planter boxes. The actual construction is currently happening and the planting will be done by our MCMS Elementary students in the spring. The goal is to catch surface runoff and retain the rainwater for the garden instead of it being carried with surface pollutants into the local area waterways.

Scott McIntyre,
MCMS Adolescent Guide

View a PDF file of this report.

Visit Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy website at madisoncentralmontessori.org