service learning_blackland

During the third annual Native Plants and Prairies Day on May 2 at the Bath House Cultural Center, 8th graders from St. John’s Episcopal School in East Dallas hosted an information outreach booth. The event is hosted by the North Texas Master Naturalists each year, and it served to educate attendees on Texas flora and fauna and the use of native plants in home landscapes.

The students are members of a service learning group that is studying and facilitating efforts to save the Blackland Prairie at White Rock Lake. Under the guidance of St. John’s science teacher Toni Herrin’s, students have been nurturing the prairie for three years, and at the event the students educated the public about how to save its endangered ecosystem by controlling the invasive plants threatening the biodiversity.

During the third trimester of 8th grade, St. John’s students participate in projects that blend the elements of service learning — identification, research, planning and reflection — while developing a capacity for critical thinking, leadership, collaboration and overcoming obstacles. These small-group, student-driven experiences serve as a capstone to their education.