LGCS Conservation Efforts
Our Green Team is a student driven program composed of 6th grade students who educate the younger students on proper recycling techniques and promote recycling on our campus. These students manage the recycling program on our campus and track the participation of each class.
Our lunch program reduces waste by recycling and composting fruit and veggie scraps that are left over from the students’ lunches. Families are also asked to pack lunches in reusable containers to reduce trash on campus.
We are not afraid to dig in and get our hands dirty in garden. Students gain an appreciation for nature as they participate in sustainable methods of gardening. We begin by selecting plants that are suited for our climate and require less water. Non- GMO seeds and Heirloom seeds are planted. Then we grow these using organic practices. Our garden soil is amended with compost as well as natural fertilizers such as worm castings and fish emulsion. We are also promoting the use of Florida native plants and are growing them in our greenhouse to share with families in our community.
The Learning Gate Hanna Campus is a 27-acre former orange grove that has gradually transitioned into a dense, oak forest. The campus also contains a pond, swamp and lake that are utilized for a variety of lessons and projects throughout the academic year. All students (K – 5th grades) assist with the land management and monitoring of the flora/fauna that live here during their classes. Projects include invasive plant contests, tracking the reptiles/mammals species, and assisting with a migratory bird research project.
The entire Learning Gate community also has the opportunity to get involved by helping with the annual LG Bioblitz event in early May. It is a “hands-on” opportunity for our students and families to interact with scientific professionals to inventory all the plants/animals found on the campus during this one day event. Events like this allow our students to not only help document the biodiversity on the campus but to interact with real scientists and learn what they do.
Tampa Bay Watch’s Bay Grasses in Classes (BGIC)
Tampa Bay Watch’s Bay Grasses in Classes (BGIC) is a program that seeks to facilitate youth involvement in habitat restoration efforts. At our wetland nursery, students plant, maintain, and harvest salt marsh (Spartina alterniflora) grasses to be replanted into targeted coastal areas. These salt marsh plants will act as filtering agents for storm water runoff, stabilize shorelines, and buffer uplands from storms, while offering foraging and sanctuary for many species of fish and wildlife. The BGIC program provides a regular source of native wetland plants for use in habitat restoration projects around Tampa Bay and replenishes marsh habitat.
Our on-campus nurseries provide an excellent educational resource for participating students who work side-by-side with local scientists involved in restoration of the bay. This experience gives them valuable ecological and agricultural knowledge, while practicing environmental stewardship in its purest form.