MDC, Smithton School Partner to Establish Native Garden
Two Native Pollinator Garden locations have been established at Smithton R-VI School District.
Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) Private Land Conservationist, David Niebruegge and 5th/6th Grade Science Teacher Staci Harrison had several visits outlining opportunities for MDC and Smithton Schools to partner. David and Staci identified steps that needed to be taken to establish the Native Garden.
Once they developed a plan and approval was given by Mr. Bray, Smithton R-VI Superintendent, the project began. In May 2023, the Smithton Class of 2029 & 2030 worked collaboratively together to move three tons of dirt, two truckloads of mulch and plant 112 plants by hand. Together they showed tenacity, hard work, grace & fun, and made a beautiful pollinator garden for the Smithton Community to enjoy. The Native Garden is located on the southeast side of the school leading into the large gymnasium.
The students and Mrs. Harrison invested 13 hours to complete the project. David Niebruegge applied for the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Community Conservation Cost Share on behalf of Smithton School to secure funding for the project.
A Community Conservation Cost Share is a program through MDC that, “Promotes sustainable development practices and the establishment of natural resource conservation practices in municipal and developing areas."
Staci Harrison was able to secure the school district’s in-kind contribution through donations from other partners including B&P Excavating (donated and delivered two loads of topsoil that covered 216 sq ft, two feet deep) Sedalia Rental and Supply donated utilization of a skid steer, Conagra 40 5-gallon buckets, City of Smithton Public Works providing mulch and dirt.
David Niebruegge shares, “The benefits of good conservation practices can be realized not only in rural, open spaces - but also in rural communities and urban areas with projects such as this one. MDC was excited to partner with the Smithton School District on this effort. The kids were a joy to work with, and I look forward to a continued working relationship with the school district in the future.”
Mr. Bray added, “The Smithton R-VI School District was excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Missouri Department of Conservation to make this project happen. I cannot give enough thanks to the hardworking students, Mrs. Harrison, Mr. Niebruegge and the handful of donors for their collaboration in this effort. It is great when our students get to work alongside community partners to create a sustainable and attractive addition to our campus.”
Mrs. Warren added, “We are so appreciative that our students were given this opportunity. Thank you to all the donors, Mrs. Harrison, Mr. Niebruegge and MDC for making it possible.”
This will be a beautiful garden for years to come!
Submitted by: David Niebruegge and Staci Harrison