U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
How do you share hands-on information about traditional uses of plants, biodiversity of sagebrush systems, native plant identification, pollinator relationships and habitat for threatened species all in one location? In a teaching garden! Idaho BLM has several venues for youth and adult education on natural resources within the communities we serve. Teaching gardens are great opportunities for those not able to trek to remote and rugged BLM lands or for those interested in an introduction to resources and issues prior to visiting the backcountry. The BLM's Boise District hosts two themed gardens at the office headquarters and two off-site gardens at area schools. The Boise District gardens are open for visitors at all times. If you would like to schedule a more formal tour or activity with your group or school, please contact Holly Beck at 208-602-5592 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Bruneau Elementary School "Wilderness Garden"
Bruneau Elementary, partnered with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to create an outdoor classroom space that features Idaho native plants and local geology. This project is mid-construction and completion photos will be posted in 2014. The native garden will be a venue for educating students on the unique plants, wildlife and geology of their area. It will also serve as an outdoor learning space where teachers will conduct classes. Opportunities for art and science in the garden will also be created and the BLM will assist with curriculum development. To align with state-wide curriculum elements, the garden includes plants that have a place in Idaho’s history such as syringa (Philadelphis lewisii) or have traditional Native American uses such as basin wildrye (Elymus cinereus) and serviceberry (Amalanchier alnifolia). The garden features a traditional Native American shade shelter, an amphitheater classroom area, a nature-themed alphabet trail and design elements that reflect the local history of ranching and homesteading. This native garden will be the first stepping stone as part of the larger initiative to engage southwest Idaho rural schools with the lands that surround them.
This outdoor classroom is placed in the front of the newly remodeled 100-year old public school in the east end of Boise, Idaho. Parents, students, teachers and neighbors spent many summer evenings creating a space for outdoor education and appreciation of Idaho native plants. Lawn was removed and a low berm was created to define the classroom space. A meandering path flanked by native plants was built to lead students from the school into the classroom. Boulders were staggered around the perimeter to provide seating and perching spots for students. Our native plants showed rapid growth and the students enjoyed bee-watching at the flowering asters. Students requested that the garden include plants that are hosts to pollinators and so BLM planted species such as tufted evening primrose (Oenothera caespitosa), coyote mint (Monordella odoratissima), several species of asters (Aster oblongifolia and Erigeron compositus) and penstemons (Penstemon fruticosus, P. strictus and P. eatonii).
The garden also features a mini metal sculpture garden of plant labels that Boise State University and the first grade class created together. The Roosevelt students drew pollinators to match the plants which were later transferred onto the sculptures. The Boise School District’s Dehryl Dennis Vocational Technical School collaborated with BLM to create metal Idaho animal silhouettes and a classroom sign in the shape of a bighorn sheep ram. The Boise District BLM has also compiled a geology reference collection that will be placed in the garden.
Contact: Holly Beck, 208-384-3362
The Boise District has a native plant garden that highlights species found in the local area. Over the years, the Boy Scouts and Boise State University horticulture students have been involved with installing and maintaining the garden. The native garden has been re-designed to allow it to merge with the planned district water-wise landscaping and to allow increased staff and visitor use of the area. A horticulture student from Boise State University created the re-design of the native garden as part of a senior project. As part of this re-design, BLM highlighted and provided interpretation of traditional uses of native plant materials in southwest Idaho.
Features of the garden include a traditional shade shelter, a wickiup and interpretive panels. Paths in the garden lead visitors to signs that describe the traditional lifeways of the Shoshone-Paiute in southwest Idaho. The combination of native plants and traditional structures within an easy access urban area make this site ideal for educational activities with schools.
The BLM's Boise District Office also planted a sage-grouse habitat demonstration garden. The garden highlights the relationship between sage-grouse life cycles and vegetation types. The demonstration area shows seasonal habitats such as winter, lekking, nesting/early brood rearing and late brood rearing habitats. Each section of the garden contains the general vegetation features and preferred plant species of each life stage. Metal silhouettes are placed in the habitat to show the representative seasonal behavior. Interpretive signs and a brochure are also available to educate the public on sage-grouse habitat requirements and the resource issues that BLM faces when managing sage-grouse.
Contact: Holly Beck, 208-384-3362