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With new plantings and arrangements, Highland second-graders should have many more butterflies in their school gardens next summer.

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has awarded Highland Community School District in Iowa County one of seven 2015 teachers’ outdoor environmental education grants.

Each school received approximately $1,000 from the foundation.

Kim Wahl is the Highland District’s Wisconsin Green Schools Network field biologist and authored the grant proposal, with the help of several others. Wahl works for the district two days a week teaching field biology throughout the system.

“The main goal of the grant and our work is to improve environmentally friendly school gardens, which students can then use to teach other students about environmental education,” Wahl said.

A butterfly garden and school garden are two school property spaces that will be utilized to educate. Students, with the directions of teachers, will use funds for improvements in the appearance and function of the gardens, including landscape design and expansion. More native plants will be added, too.

The second-grade students will lead some of these efforts. Teacher Kirsten Rusch will assist Wahl in directing her students.

Highland District also has four raised garden beds that require maintenance and expansion. Grant money will be used to buy materials and build beds, as well as create a vegetable garden and a sensory garden. Grades 3 through 5 will assist in these efforts.

The students in these classes will be directly involved in choosing the plantings and design of spaces.

Other schools receiving awards for environmental education included Coleman Elementary School in Marinette County; Madison's Crestwood Elementary School in Dane County; Laona School District in Forest County; Madison's Malcolm Shabazz City School in Dane County; Meadowview Middle School in Monroe County; and Pittsville Elementary School in Wood County.

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Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance otudoors writer from Barneveld, at or 608-924-1112.