Grow la crosse
A water-friendly edible schoolyard at hamilton elementary
GROW La Crosse had a vision for developing an edible schoolyard at Hamilton Elementary School in La Crosse and understood the importance of controlling water within the landscape.
Together, we created a hands-on, water-friendly urban landscape that mimics a forest edge, provides outdoor learning space, and connects humans to healthy food and nature.
Students and community members played a role in this project from beginning to end. Water friendly landscape features include native pollinator and soil-enriching plants, a biofilter rain garden, water harvesting barrels, and permanent educational signs.
The school entry was flanked by hundreds of square feet of compacted soil and grass, non-functional grading, and dying ash trees.
Students, staff and volunteers measured, shoveled, raked, hauled, planted, and learned….a lot. Thousands of pounds of earth was moved, and hundreds of native plant species were put in the ground to build soil that will feed the edible schoolyard and absorb water like a sponge.
Berms and swales are directing water, rain gardens are capturing water, and native plants are absorbing water. Runoff is soaking into the ground rather than going in the street drains.
The students of Hamilton and neighborhood residents now have an educational platform for hands-on learning about food, water, and nature. This underserved neighborhood now has a place with interesting features and something to teach.
To learn more about GROW La Crosse and their mission to connect youth with healthy food and nature through hands on garden based experiences to nourish growing minds and bodies, visit their website.