A small inexpensive (less than $1000) container yard, measuring 10 × 10 ft square, with an automatic irrigation system was designed for schools participating in the Louisiana State University Coastal Roots Program: A School Seedling Nursery Program for Habitat Restoration. Students helped install the container yard on their school site and oversee native plant production through the course of the school year. Teachers and other school staff checked the nursery during summer months to ensure that the irrigation system was working properly and the plants were healthy. Students grew ≈1000 restoration seedlings per year in their container yard. Each year they transplanted their seedlings and grass plugs on trips to habitat restoration sites across Louisiana's coastal zone. Since the inception of the program in 2000, the students using this container yard design have produced nearly 24,500 trees and shrubs and over 8000 grass plugs.
Edward W. Bush and Pamela B. Blanchard
Kathryn Karsh, Edward Bush, Janice Hinson, and Pamela Blanchard
Encouraging students to become better stewards of the environment and to be more educated in science content knowledge is an important goal of today's educational leaders. Eight lessons were created to aid an established stewardship program (Coastal Roots) in introducing hands-on activities to middle school children in southern Louisiana. Students were tested on science content in the lessons using a pre-test, eight multiple choice quizzes (each focusing on a particular lesson), and a post-test. The “children's attitudes toward the environment scale” test was administered to evaluate environmental awareness changes in the treatment and control group students. Students who received the horticulture lessons improved their post-test scores by 11.4 points (P ≤ 0.05) in the first year and 25.07 points (P ≤ 0.0001) in the second year of the study. Significant increases in individual lessons were found both years. In the second year, students who received the lessons were more aware of their role in the environment than those who did not receive the additional lessons (P ≤ 0.01). The addition of horticulture lessons to the middle school curriculum enhanced student knowledge and stewardship of the environment.
Christine E.H. Coker, Gary Bachman, Chris Boyd, Pamela B. Blanchard, Ed Bush, and Mengmeng Gu
The Coastal Roots School Seedling Nursery Program for Habitat Restoration was initiated by Louisiana State University in 2000 in cooperation with Louisiana Sea Grant. The program enhances learning areas such as plant growth, wetland issues, conservation, and hands-on habitat restoration, and includes the installation of a small container nursery for the production of coastal plants in schoolyards. The program was adopted by Mississippi State University's Coastal Research and Extension Center in 2008. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the program as well as Mississippi's plans to adapt the Louisiana model to demonstrate teaching by example through hands-on demonstration that will supply students with real-world conservation and stewardship experience.