Inspiring exploration, appreciation, and conservation of our natural world.

I Went to a Garden Party

garden group photo

After a great deal of planning, preparation, and planting, Mill Creek Elementary School held their Garden Party on May 30th. GTSI teachers Kim Ranger, Nikki Wilkins, and Carrie Saunders cut the ribbon on the newly installed Mill Creek Elementary Native Plants Garden.

Ribbon Cutting

The Garden Party was the culminating event for the Mill Creek GTSI team this year, but it’s not just a garden that these students have been nurturing! The 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders at Mill Creek have been involved in a multi-faceted collaboration that began as a little idea a year ago and ended up involving a diverse group of community partners who have all played an important role in helping these students learn about the great lakes region, their community, the importance of native plants, and the impact of change over time.
Because of the help and input they received from friends at the Elk Rapids Lions Club,  Hope Village, The Elk Rapids Historical Museum and a number of other involved community partners, the students collaborated on writing a book called, Looking at the Past, Gazing in to the Future. The book is not only a guide to native plants. It is a story about community. Elk Rapids artist, Joani Braun helped fourth graders create watercolor illustrations of native plants, and will provide her own watercolor interpretations to illustrate  the student’s story that is being published by the Jenkins Group and available in print this fall. The student’s watercolors are available in note card form and are being sold as a fundraiser to pay for the publishing of their book.  To Pre-order your copy of the book contact Kim Ranger.

Mill Creek Tour Guides at Garden Party

 During the Garden  Party, 3rd and 4th grade students were on hand to give garden and pond tours, answer questions about native plants, and share their plans to renovate the Mill Creek Pond and Environmental Classroom next year.

Carrie Saunder's Worm Experts 2 small
The second grade worm specialists, otherwise known as “Wormologists”, offered a demonstration of their worm bin and explained how the worms they studied and tended all year transformed their snack scraps into rich compost for the garden. They also offered a wiggly-worm, make-and-take craft.
Water color station, Mill Creek Garden Party
Other students served refreshments, sold note cards and native plants, and helped guests try their hand at  watercolor art. The Garden Party was attended by over eighty parents, friends, school administrators, and community partners.
 Check out the 4th grader’s  Native Plants iMovie