Seymour School Rain Garden Provides Many Lessons Through "Nature in the City" Program

Oct 5, 2017

The rain garden outside of Seymour Dual Language Academy.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

About 30 fourth and fifth graders at Syracuse’s Seymour Dual-Language Academy got a hands-on lesson outside Thursday through a project that includes some long-time partners.  WAER News stopped by to get a look at the school’s rain garden.         

The garden sits just outside the playground off Shonnard Street, and Vice Principal Steve Polera says sprucing it up has become a tradition for fifth graders who want to leave a legacy.

"What we want the kids to learn from it is that there's nature in the city, and that's the purpose of the rain garden here at Seymour that was bulit in 2012.  So we revitalized it because it was in disrepair and needed a facelift."

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

Whitney Lash-Marshall is executive director of the Baltimore Woods Nature Center. 

"It was ready for an overhaul.  All the plants we put in the garden today are native plants.  They should all grow back year after year.  I think any of the kids still running around right now after their sweat went into all that work today.

Lash-Marshall says they’ve been bringing their Nature in the City science lessons to all 19 Syracuse elementary schools for 16 years. 

"You should have seen the kids...they were looking for insects and spiders, and running away when we found a little snake.  They got to really experience that there's a lot more here than plants and mulch.  There's a little ecosystem happening right in front of their school."

Lash-marshall says the rain garden serves as the basis of another lesson.

This painted rock was part of the first rain garden in 2012. It's the only one that remains after others became weathered and were removed.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

"The third graders learn all about the Onondaga Lake Watershed.  This is one of the rain gardens put in by Save the Rain, so it's a great example of tying what's happening on the pavement outside their school to the watershed of the City of Syracuse."

The children had help from about a dozen employees from Carrier Corporation.  Global Community Affairs Coordinator Lou Anne Mann says they’ve sponsored the Nature in the City program, and supported Seymour school for 28 years. 

"It's combining our efforts to be out in the community, and is giving the students a wonderful opportunity to learn something they may not have a chance to otherwise."

Employees from Carrier Corporation gave a helping hand. The company is a long-standing sponsor of the Nature in the City program, and has supported Seymour School students for 28 years.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News