Laurel Mountain Elementary School has been named the recipient of a $3,000 Bright Green Future grant from the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability to complete the construction of the campus’ rain garden.
The grant, funded through Austin Resource Recovery, Watershed Protection, the Public Works Department, Austin Transportation and Austin Energy, was designed to recognize and support innovative projects that will inspire students to become lifelong environmental stewards, according to the City of Austin.
Trevor Hance, Laurel Mountain outdoor learning specialist and fifth-grade teacher, wrote the grant and guided the enrichment cluster that led the planning of the natural play area, which is funded through a $75,000 Round Rock ISD Tier II Innovative School Grant.
“For the last ten years Laurel Mountain has taken huge steps toward building an outdoor learning and environmental awareness learning platform,” Hance said. “This grant puts the jets on the airplane and allows us to extend our work and take it to a completely different level.”
The natural play area, which was planned and designed by students and landscape architects, will be located on the southeast corner of the school’s property and will be used to clean runoff rainwater before it enters Bull Creek. The rain garden will include water cleaning plants that will act as a natural filter for the water runoff as well as a beautification space for the campus.
“We had fun with the planning while learning,” said Jackson Baker, Laurel Mountain fifth-grade student. “The natural play area was designed by kids and we helped to make our environment better.”
The natural play area and rain garden have a prospective groundbreaking date on April 22 to celebrate Earth Day. The project is slated to be fully complete by August 2017.