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Johnson Park School

The Johnson Park School courtyard in bloom, September 2017.

The Johnson Park Elementary School courtyard has been enclosed for more than 16 years, but home to little more than grass and plantain until the summer of 2016. That was when Mark Eastburn, a former teacher at Johnson Park, was awarded a Plant BLOOME Grant from the American Society of Plant Biologists, for his project “Plant STEM for K-12 Education.” After speaking with the Principal, Dr. Robert A. Ginsberg, they worked out a plant to introduce native species of plant that would attract pollinators and provide food and shelter to Eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) from a population that had overgrown its bounds at Riverside Elementary School, a school where Mark Eastburn currently works on the other side of town. The courtyard at Johnson Park has been a healthy place for students and turtles to interact, and the very first turtle hatchling to be born in the courtyard was found on September 8, 2017!

A grid created by Mrs. Eisenacher’s third grade class in the spring of 2017. This grid is used to determine plant and animal positions, so that changes can be documented over time.

Plants in this courtyard are arranged into seven “stations”, so please click the buttons below to learn more about the plants in each area!