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Wendell Phillips Elementary School
Plants Pollinator Friendly Plants

Julia Kemnitz helps educate students how to properly insert plant plugs into the school yard. Photo by USFWS.

Julia Kemnitz helps educate students how to properly insert plant plugs into the school yard. Photo by USFWS.

Students at Indianapolis’ Wendell Phillips I.P.S. 63 elementary school are diving into the world of pollinators. The school, which recently became a Matchbook learning school, is focused on providing new educational experiences to their students. They were the first recipients of Indiana Natural Resources Foundation’s Give Adventure Grant, which aims to get youth engaged with wildlife and pollinator habitats, through interactive activities and programs.

In partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Indy Parks and Recreation Department, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, three separate pollinator areas were installed, one in front of the school, the second along the side of the building and the third on the Indy Parks property, which is commonly used as part of the school’s playground.

At the front entrance of the school, students assisted in planting hundreds native plants, while also learning about pollinators and native prairies from Department of Natural Resources and Service staff. While for most students this was their first time planting, several enjoyed it so much they came back multiple times throughout the day to help more! A sensory pollinator walk now lines the sidewalk heading back to the playground area, where the new monarch waystation is located with plants provided by the Partners Program. All three planting areas were prepared and managed by Groundworks Indy: an organization that aims to engage local communities in revitalizing neighborhoods.

The main objective of the project is to create an educational opportunity for the children, while also providing important wildlife habitat. Along with several educational signs, there are three large-scale events: The School Exhibition, Groundwork Indy Day and the Community Festival. Children and their families had the opportunity to come to the school and learn all about the opportunities available throughout the year, including learning about the newly installed plantings and the upcoming Community Festival at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources /Service booth. Groundwork Indy Day is to further engage the Groundwork Indy crew with a property tour to talk not only about the habitat goals, tools & skills required for these projects, but how the staff got to where they are today and what kind of career opportunities are available at the Department of Natural Resources. Finally, the largest event is the Community Festival, where all the partners in the planting including the Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cardno Nursery and Indy Parks will invite the whole community to come learn about the pollinator plantings early this fall.

Pollinator education display. Photo by USFWS.

Pollinator education display. Photo by USFWS.


Last updated: September 11, 2019