East Norriton Middle School's 2013 Idea Garden

Students are working on an innovative "shoe garden."

The East Norriton Middle School Idea Garden is in the planning stages of some exciting new activities for the spring of 2013. In addition to adding to and improving upon the wildlife gardens, the certified Monarch butterfly weigh station, and the herb gardens, there will be a whole new feature incorporated into Idea Garden this year. Mr. Taylor, a 5th grade science teacher at ENMS, along with students from his Science Club, will be collaborating on the design and construction of a ‘Shoe Garden.’ 

A ‘Shoe Garden’ is essentially an exercise in reusing our non-recyclables in a creative and environmentally friendly manner. Students at ENMS will reuse old, discarded shoes as decorative planters, which will be showcased and incorporated into the overall ‘wildlife’ theme of the Idea Garden. 

Mr. Taylor’s 5th grade students will also be learning about the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly this year, as they grow and release their very own Monarch butterflies into the Idea Garden’s Monarch Butterfly Weigh Station. Built last year, the ENMS Monarch Butterfly Weigh Station has been a collaboration between ENMS and Ursinus College in an effort to replenish the decreasing Monarch butterfly habitats throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.   

Lastly, construction of the ENMS Idea Garden’s main structural centerpiece, a 9ft. by 11ft. pergola, is complete thanks to the help of Mr. Jack Glacken of The Central Montco Technical High School.  With the pergola completed, students at ENMS will be installing clematis and morning glory at the base of the structure, which will climb, flower, and provide shade and nectars for wildlife such as butterflies and hummingbirds.    

Last year, the ENMS Idea Garden was the recipient of grants from both The Norristown Area Education Foundation and Lowes, and is in essence a means to re-connect students with nature, in an effort to benefit our students physically, emotionally, socially, academically, creatively and responsibly. Unlike the sedentary aspects of sitting in front of a computer, television, or gaming system, a garden is a space for physical interaction with the environment. Be it through an observation of a flower written in a journal, conducting a soil test, or planting a tree, there is more physical engagement inherent in being outside than there typically is inside the home, or in the classroom.

Please come out this spring to see the ENMS Idea Garden in full bloom!


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