school to help launch cole creek adopt a stream team
February 08, 2012
Nathan Hale Middle School sits atop a hill overlooking Sorensen Parkway in the Benson-Ames Alliance. The students at this Omaha Public Schools magnet for leadership and social justice get many opportunities to learn by doing. This spring, they’ll be joining forces with Omaha by Design to help care for a neighborhood asset while learning about the impact their actions have on the environment.
The school will help launch the Cole Creek Adopt a Stream Team, a group of volunteers dedicated to keeping the stretch of creek that runs through neighboring Orchard Park clean. This location is the site of The Cole Creek Project, a $1.6 million urban stream restoration initiative that’s the first to follow the City of Omaha’s Urban Design Element recommendation calling for the transformation of the Papio Creek waterways into a citywide public park and recreation system.
The adopt a stream team is part of the community outreach component of The Cole Creek Project, which is designed to engage homeowners, neighborhood associations, business associations and students in understanding their role in the local water cycle and incorporating green solutions into their daily routines. The launch of the team is supported by a grant from the employees of ConAgra Foods.
“Students oftentimes make the best environmental stewards, and we welcome the opportunity to work with Nathan Hale in helping Omahans understand the importance of the health of our local waterways,” said Connie Spellman, director of Omaha by Design.
Nathan Hale is the only school in the Midwest to offer an expanded learning time curriculum, said Susan Colvin, the school’s principal. The curriculum allows students additional time to participate in a series of enrichment classes like Becky Lowther’s environmental impact elective.
In 2009, Nathan Hale was the recipient of a mini-grant from The Cole Creek Project to establish a gardening class in conjunction with the school’s expanded learning time curriculum. After conducting the necessary research, students landscaped and planted the school’s garden beds with drought resistant plants. Water conservation activities were included in the class curriculum.
Planning is under way for a kickoff activity for the adopt a stream team in March. Other schools, groups and individuals interested in joining the effort can contact Omaha by Design at 402.554.4010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Cole Creek Project is a partnership of the City of Omaha, Roncalli Catholic High School, Douglas County, Omaha by Design, the Benson-Ames Alliance, Big Muddy Workshop, Hayes Environmental L.L.C., Lamp, Rynearson & Associates and Olsson Associates. It was funded by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District.