Jose Marti MAST Academy celebrates Earth Day

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 0 Comments

Jose Marti MAST Academy celebrates Earth Day


On Saturday, April 26, Jose Marti MAST Academy celebrated Earth Day with students, parents and teachers. Trees were planted, gardens were mulched and trash was collected. 

The school's Green Club worked together with the freshmen research classes and put together an interactive activity that encourages students to use technology to help identify native plants in the school's native arboretum. The administration is proud to offer their students enhanced learning activities outside of the classroom and into the real world of botanical research. 

All of the 28 species planted in the native arboretum were labelled with numbers. Each student group was given an answer sheet where students wrote the number of the plant that they felt most matched the common and scientific name on the sheet. Each group was also given QR codes to use with their smart phones to view descriptions and photos of the different plants.

Andrew Kearns, the lead teacher for the Earth Day assignments said, “At a school that focuses on math and science, I think it is imperative that students go beyond the classroom to experience the real world of research, science, and statistics. Too many times students feel that scientific research is confined to an indoor laboratory setting when, in fact, such research opportunities are everywhere. Our José Martí MAST Native Arboretum is a living laboratory available to our students.”

The initial installation of plants at the Native Arboretum was in May, 2012, through a small grant from the National Wildlife Federation. In addition to the plants obtained through the grant, the school has planted native species of trees and shrubs started from seedlings.

“The land on which the arboretum is planted was previously occupied by portable school district buildings, so we have ‘reclaimed’ the land for nature,” said Kearns.  

As the flora planted has matured, the arboretum has attracted many native species of butterflies including zebra longings, gulf fritillaries, giant swallowtails, and orange-barred sulphur butterflies. Birds that frequent the arboretum are white ibis, mockingbirds, mourning doves, grackles, loggerhead shrikes, and observed on one occasion, an American kestrel. 

For more information on José Martí MAST Academy, contact the school at 305-557-5931 or visit the school website 

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