Briargrove’s Efforts to Build a Greener Campus Take Flight with Butterfly Garden Project

Briargrove Elementary students took on a big project to beautify their school during this year’s Green Apple Day of Service, and the results of that effort are now being considered for a national award.

The school used the day of service to spruce up their grounds and build a butterfly garden, utilizing materials from the City of Houston’s Reuse Warehouse – a space for excess building materials that would otherwise be dumped in local landfills. Now the school is a contender for the 2013 National Reuse Contest, sponsored by The Reuse People of America.

The school used 8,000 pounds of reused materials, including reclaimed limestone blocks to line the science garden, bricks to circle and protect the school’s fruit trees and butterfly bushes, and a 1,000-pound concrete planter that was placed at the back entrance of the campus and decorated with the student volunteers’ painted handprints.

Rebecca Luman, Briargrove’s PTO Sustainable Resource Chair, said the event was an exciting learning experience for the more than 55 teachers, students and parents who participated.

“We instantly have butterflies in the garden, and we’re looking at pods on our butterfly plants,” Luman said. “The science teacher is thrilled. It’s an educational opportunity every day.”

The school will find out soon how their school fared in the reuse contest, which will award $1,000, $500 and $250 to first-, second- and third-place winners, redeemable at a local reuse store to be determined. The school also recently won a National Wildlife Federation Eco-Schools Litter Less Campaign grant to continue its work on implementing recycling programs.

The school community is excited to continue its efforts to build on and sustain an eco-friendly campus and community.

“It was fun to say that all this brick could have been in a landfill, but now look at how it’s making our butterfly garden beautiful,” Luman said.