A condemned tree at Crescent Harbor Elementary School presented a unique learning opportunity for the school’s Green Team.
The tree was damaged in the December windstorm and had to be trimmed and mostly cut down.
However, third-grade teacher and Green Team mentor John Del Prete had an idea for what to do with the tall stump. He built 24 bird houses, placing three on the stump, and most of the rest in the area surrounding the greenspace.
Librarian Bill Montross built another one to add the collection.
The third and fourth graders who comprise the Green Team dubbed the area the “Enchanted Ecosystem,” according to mentor Kamie Beach.
The students planted carefully picked plants to attract birds and butterflies, hung hummingbird feeders and cleared an area near the building where classes can work outside and observe the wildlife.
Beach said in the mornings the birds can be heard in the area.
“We’re hoping they’re moving in,” she said.
Soon the students will place nesting balls of materials to help with the birds’ move.
The team also installed a very special birdbath.
The dark blue garden piece belonged to the late teacher Debbi Olson, who taught at Crescent Harbor before going to Oak Harbor Intermediate School.
The efforts all complement what the third and fourth graders are learning about in science classes, Beach said. The small green space in the middle of the school gives students a chance to get a real-world look at plants, animals and insects and see how the organisms interact with each other and the environment.
Del Prete said the team has a rain-collection barrel that it will eventually use to water the plants and maintain the ecosystem in a sustainable way.
Beach said the Green Team clubs were created as a way to get the students more involved in the school’s sustainability efforts.
There was so much interest that separate clubs were created for second graders and another for third and fourth graders.
The hummingbird feeders were given to the club by the school’s principal Kate Valenzuela and para educator Tina Morris.