Develop Your Site - Berlin High School Native Roots Education Gardens
The Native Roots Education Gardens began as two acres of manicured lawn just outside the Berlin High School doors to the west.
Gardens were designed by Paula Hanson (Art Instructor) and Pat Arndt (Environmental Science Instructor) over a five year period.
All garden funding was accomplished through grant writing, community donations, volunteer machinery and labor with no school district financial support.
Successful grants were obtained from the Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB), National Gardening Association, and the local
Wild Ones Organization.
Berlin High School students
were involved in construction of all gardens from digging
of the pond, hauling rocks, spreading soil and mulch,
constructing raised beds, to planting of perennials, shrubs, and trees.
The first year garden constructed was a flowering shrub and perennial garden in a circular shape with an open center with Aldo Leopold benches for classes to sit in outdoor study. The second year garden was a memorial lilac and perennial garden with the first two memorial native trees donated from the families of Berlin High School students and teachers who had passed within that year. The third year a Berlin High School senior dug the pond/wetland with his family owned heavy equipment. The liner was placed, soil hauled in, filled with water, and 500 native wetland plants were hand planted. A wind mill aerator was donated by Waste Management to keep the water in the pond oxygenated. The fourth year, the native Wisconsin prairie was created by hauling in top soil, and planting 1500 native grasses and perennials. The prairie is managed by a burn each spring by the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department. The department uses it as a demonstration training grass fire for new firefighters. The final year, six raised bed vegetable boxes were constructed and filled with top soil, and Berlin High School biology students started vegetables in the greenhouse and transplanted into the boxes before school was out. The vegetable are used each fall by the Family and Consumer Education classes at Berlin High School. Throughout all five years, native trees species were added throughout the gardens the current tree arboretum consists of 32 different Wisconsin species.