Congratulations to both Fox River Grove Middle School and Algonquin Road Elementary School for receiving the Barrington Area Conservation Trust’s Conservation@School certification! The BACT gave both schools this award for transforming their outdoor spaces into extensions of the classroom to help educate students about our environment and the world in which we live.
When students returned for their first day at both schools, they were greeted with a beautiful natural landscape that now supports native plants, wildlife and sustainable habitats, thanks to the work of Ringers Landscaping.
It all started with a master plan to create a beautiful, sustainable landscape that would engage students on a regular basis. The plan included planting 25 species of trees, along with rain gardens, native plants, invasive species removal, organic turf care, and a dedicated gardener to keep everything in shape all year.
Each tree now has its own unique web page, which is accessed by scanning the QR code on the tag. On each page students and visitors can find detailed information and photos on the tree as well as its geolocation.
“The schools now have an ever changing, dynamic landscape that is alive with birds, butterflies, bees, and bugs,” says Brandon Losey of Ringers Landscaping.
Fox River Grove Middle School Principal Eric Runck agrees. “I walk the grounds every day,” he says, “and I see so many more birds and butterflies. I love coming out here now.” As if to prove a point, moments after discussing the life that had returned to the schools’ landscape, a hummingbird entered the rain garden to feed off the vibrant red blooms of a Lobelia cardinalis (cardinal flower).
BACT Executive Director Lisa Woolford said about the project, “We are proud to be able to award these two Fox River Grove schools with a Conservation@School certification. By working together with the leaders of our communities’ schools, we can further our children’s educations about the importance of being an active participant in the natural world around us.”
Future plans for native landscaping at the schools include a food garden, green roof, woodland garden with paths, and additional rain gardens.
PHOTO CAPTION #1:
(From left): Erik Ringstrand, owner of Ringers Landscaping; Eric Runck, Principal of Fox River Grove Middle School; Beth Adler, Conservation@School coordinator for the Barrington Area Conservation Trust; and Brandon Losey of Ringers Landscaping.
PHOTO CAPTION #2:
Workers from Ringers Landscaping plant native plantings at Algonguin Road School in Fox River Grove.
The Barrington Area Conservation Trust has protected nearly 500 acres in Barrington over the last decade and has more than 300 members. It uses conservation easements, land acquisitions, donations and Heritage Corridor easements to preserve open land and the area’s scenic roads. For more information on BACT, visit bactrust.org.