Sojourn Academy, located on Robinson Road in the heart of Oak Ridge North, TX, is beginning a three-year-long mission to transform their grounds for the purpose of benefitting the environment.
The improvements are to support the local habitat, cultivating green spaces and planting native plants that support native pollinators and wildlife. This is being done under the direction of the Houston Zoo, who joins the Academy in the belief that the work of education is made great only if it positively impacts our world. Sojourn Academy students are learning first-hand what it means to help the local environment through the experience of hands-on, hands-in-the-dirt participation in this project.
The students are getting a substantive education in the process. Learning about real-world interactivity between the indigenous plant life of our region, and the wildlife it supports, has the wonderful effect of bringing textbooks to life. The Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students watch how flowers have a purpose to feed and propagate life through the work of a pollinating butterfly. The 4th Graders, who study insect anatomy in their coursework, observe the anatomy of many native species first hand, including the swallowtail butterfly and the carpenter bee.
Upper School grades also benefit. “For 9th Grade Biology, we have immediate access to all sorts of indigenous plants for dissection and for making cellular slides,” remarked Janell Hill, who has been teaching at the school for 22 years. “The 7th and 8th Graders are getting practical lessons in Life Science class, too, because we are composting as we study about life cycles. Instead of just reading it in a textbook, we are observing how the relationship between indigenous plants and indigenous animals are critical for the survival of both.”
“When this project is complete, we aim be a Certified Butterfly Garden as well as a Certified Monarch Waystation, since we are located along the Monarch’s migratory path,” said 2nd Grade teacher Kristin Nickel, one of Sojourn Academy’s teachers heading up this program with the Houston Zoo. “Furthermore, we intend to be a Certified Wildlife Habitat, too.”
Sojourn Academy is hosting its annual fund drive, “Sojourn Benefit Celebration: Exploring Our World,” on November 3rd at their location at 27420 Robinson Road. DeAndra Ramsey of the Houston Zoo will be presenting, with the help of a few of her feathered and furry friends, to share more about this program. She will also share more about the school’s current paper recycling drive, another aspect of the program, and an effort intended to benefit the owl, the mascot of Sojourn Academy, and another native of the local environment.
For more information about this program, contact Katherine Parker at kparker@SojournAcademy.org.