Schoolyard Native Arboretums
In 2009, The Marys Peak Group (MPG) of the Sierra Club proposed to design and install one native arboretum per year at a local schoolyard until all Corvallis schools have one. A native arboretum is a site where plants that have lived and evolved in that area are grown for educational and scientific research purposes. The plants in these schoolyards are of species that have evolved within the mid-Willamette Valley over the past 10,000 years or more. The arboretums serve as an outdoor classroom for the schools, provide science classes with biological and soil research opportunities, add real-world observation into the school curriculum and engage students and teachers in on-site, real-work opportunities. The arboretums also create wildlife habitat and environmental restoration on schoolyards. Interpretive and species ID displays have been installed to assist visitors.
The arboretums include:
- Crescent Valley High School – 2010
- Cheldelin Middle School – 2011
- Corvallis Waldorf School – 2012
- Garfield Elementary School – November, 2013
The MPG has partnered with the Corvallis Odd Fellows Lodge and the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District, as well as local businesses that have provided supplies and materials. Both the 509J School District and the Corvallis Waldorf School have been extremely cooperative and participatory in the development of the native arboretums.