MEADOWSCAPING FOR BIODIVERSITY (MS4B) www.meadowmaking.org is an outdoor, STEAM-learning, project-based environmental education program that empowers youth to actively aid the environment by repurposing turf lawns and ornamental gardens into meadows filled with native plants. MS4B’s mission is to “heal the earth — through education — one meadow at a time.” MS4B offers two program lines: 1) Out-of-school-time Meadow Clubs, summer Meadow Camps, and environmental enrichment courses for youth, 7-14, and 2) The Youth Environmental Entrepreneurship Program (YEEP), for teens age 15-18.
YEEP, a career-readiness/community-resilience program, guides high school students through the creation and operation of a specialty landscape business where the students sell and install native plants throughout their community. YEEP links learning to working and puts youth on a path toward defining their career and academic interests. Both programs ignite curiosity and empower youth to address three challenges facing our environment and society:
These challenges include nature-deprivation disorder, climate change and ecological indifference, and lack of biodiversity.
WHY MEADOWSCAPING? Meadows filled with hardy, drought-tolerant native plants that appeal to bees, caterpillars, butterflies, and birds help restore biodiverse habitats essential to plant, animal, and human life. Meadows also supplant invasive species, cool the earth, and soak up rainwater, preventing runoff from polluting our streams, rivers, and oceans—and, thus, protecting our water supply. In addition, after the first season, native plants thrive without intensive watering.
A PROVEN, SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM
For youth. Since 2014, MS4B has provided successful after-school programs, meadow clubs, and vacation camps for Waltham elementary schools, the Park School in Brookline, Sociedad Latina in Boston, Waltham YMCA, and Newton North High School, directly benefitting 300 students.
For wildlife. MS4B’s 4,500+ sq. ft. in ecosystems gardens provide habitat for hundreds of pollinators, insects, and other wildlife. MS4B’s first meadow, a 700 sq. ft. plot at Christ Church Episcopal, 750 Main St., Waltham, received National Wildlife Habitat Certification in 2015. The 350 sq. ft. meadow at the Park School in Brookline is eligible for this honor. During YEEP’s pilot year (March - August 2017), students sold 420 native plants to 30 customers and installed 3,000 sq. ft. of meadows for 12 clients including two city sites: a city park and Stonehurst, the Robert Treat Paine Estate.
For educators. MS4B staff have designed and delivered professional development workshops at the annual conferences of: Massachusetts Environmental Education Society (MEES); Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s School Gardeners’ Conference; the Cambridge Science Festival; and the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (NOFA), among others.