On a recent school day, sixth-grader Cassidy Wimmer places surveyors’ flags in spots where runoff water from the Beltline, other roads and parking lots flows toward the wetlands of Indian Springs south of Madison.
She and her classmates are part of a field biology class at Badger Rock Middle School and they’re learning a hands-on lesson about water quality and the environment in the neighborhood that surrounds their school.
“It’s interesting to see where the water travels,” she says. “It probably has a lot of pollution in it.”
Meanwhile, other students from Badger Rock are studying an enormous burr oak tree, and estimating its age. Still other sixth-graders are helping move a giant compost pile toward a community garden at their school that they help tend. Their lesson today is on improving soil to nourish growing plants, and learning the ideal ratio of carbon to nitrogen to create the best compost.