Calgary Board of Education

Environmental Learning

Native Plant Park

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Map of Phase III
The Human Sundial
Info Centre
Phase I & II
Phase III

The creation of a third naturalized area at the southeast corner of the school had a three-fold purpose. First, there was a desire to create another area to study butterflies, insects and birds as part of the science curriculum. There was also a need to create an area to shelter students from the sun and wind. A third important purpose of this new naturalized area was to assist in correcting a persistent drainage problem.

The Phase III site is an exposed area that is hot and sunny in the summer, cold and windy in the winter. The characteristics of the site match very closely with that of a prairie grassland and, in fact, the area was likely a grassland long before the school was built. An outer pathway of crushed gravel and clay surrounds an octagonal area planted with native grasses and forbs (wildflowers) that are often found in the Foothills Fescue Grassland. The prairie is surrounded by four benches and a picnic table, as well as three groupings of sandstone boulders. There are no plants around the boulders, so the rocks are fair targets for students to sit, jump, and play on. Several groupings of spruce, poplar, ash, Ponderosa pine and Shubert Chokecherry and a small shrub border provide some protection from wind and sun and create a sense of enclosure within the Prairie Circle.

Students were involved in planting the prairie plants. Over a one week period in June 1999, pairs of students participated in planting a total of 350 native plants. In June 2000 four new trees were added to the site (three Ponderosa Pine and one Shubert Chokecherry). Two interpretive signs were installed, which provide information about prairie grasslands and the specific plants in the Prairie Circle. A human sundial has been painted on the pavement adjacent to the Prairie Circle, where students can tell the time by the position of their shadow.

Photo of people working on phase 3