An ‘A’ for Jordan
On Friday, Jan. 29, Jordan High School teachers, students and their community partners were awarded an N.C. Beautiful Windows of Opportunity grant for a project that incorporates hands-on, in-school curricula to implement best stormwater management practices (bmps), thereby teaching Jordan students work-ready skills in environmentally sustainable landscaping and agriculture.
Not coincidentally, the project also serves to reduce significant water damage to the school building and grounds, improve the health of the surrounding watershed (federally impaired Jordan Lake), and provide natural beautification of open areas on the Jordan campus for outdoor teaching and socializing.
Durham’s Soil and Water Conservation District, Trees Across Durham, The Shiel Sexton Company (Old Hendrick Site, Downtown Durham), and now N.C. Beautiful are all providing assistance and/or funding for this ongoing project, which promises long-term maintenance via its incorporation into the curricula of multiple class subjects. Durham Open Space and Trails and Keep Durham Beautiful are each considering a 2015-16 grant application from Jordan, so soon may join the list of community collaborators.
In mid-December, The Shiel Sexton Company (Tim Marsh, with facilitation from Durham activist John Schelp) donated bushes from the Old Hendrick site. These bushes were installed by students just before Christmas break. They will always remind me of the Old Hendrick site, and we are hopeful that the company will provide a plaque informing of the bushes’ place in Durham’s history.
Trees Across Durham (Megan Carroll) provided, delivered and assisted with the installation of trees around the campus the week before Xmas break.
With support from first-year principal Kerry Chisnall and assistant principal James Boyce and Hortiulture, Biotech, Science and OCS teachers (particularly, Michelle Joyner-Ricci, Robert Greenberg, Kevin Lloyd, Michael Peterson and Janice Foxman) are committed to incorporating into the regular curricula the planning, installation and long-term maintenance of this valuable project. What’s more, once installed, the project stands to significantly reduce long-term school maintenance costs associated with water-damage.
The school plans to incorporate parts of the Soil and Water Conservation District’s Mike Dupree’s award winning BETC program (Bionomic Education and Training Center, http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/community/durham-news/article45495072.html) at Southern High School, particularly the Ag/Horticulture components and hands-on training for Occupational-Course-of-Study (OCS) students. Upon graduation, these students will have job-ready skills and experience, with the wonderful benefit of having spent many school days outside and engaged in hands-on learning.