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Katy High School Students Build Garden Boxes for Special Needs Students Adjacent to Tiger Prairie


March 11, 2022

By Natalie Cook Clark

Over 90 Katy High School National Honor Society (NHS) students built two modified garden beds that will be housed at Katy High School adjacent to the new Tiger Prairie and Outdoor Learning Center. These beds will be used encourage nature learning for special needs students with mobility issues.

Photo credit: Dr. Rhonda Burrough

Garden Boxes Designed to Be Accessed By Students in Wheelchairs

Katy High School NHS student volunteers created two large modified garden boxes that will be housed adjacent to the Tiger Prairie and Outdoor Learning Center. These boxes are designed to help promote nature learning for special needs students with mobility issues.

Nature-Based Learning Proven to Help Students

“Nature-based learning has been proven to help students focus attention and regulate behavior, enhance attitudes and engagement with school, and support creativity, critical thinking and problem solving,” says Dr. Rhonda Burrough, Katy High School Science Department Teacher. “Mobility issues in special-needs populations, however, can sometimes be a roadblock to accessing outdoor educational opportunities and its benefits.”

Dr. Burrough says that this project will help promote social contribution and key instructional cornerstones for Katy ISD.

In a large school such as Katy High, this can present a challenge where interactions between those in special and general education are limited,” says Dr. Burrough.

The garden boxes will be a place where students of both groups can come together through the Buddy Program.

Photo credit: Dr. Rhonda Burrough

Helping the Entire Katy Community

“Promoting charitable contributions is also an educational cornerstone for our district,” explains Dr. Burrough. “With 23% of Katy ISD students identified as economically disadvantaged, a portion of our harvest will be donated to the Katy Food Bank, providing a free source of fresh produce that might otherwise be unavailable for low-income families.”

The materials for this project came from old, repurposed building materials. Students painted the cement to make them cheerful and bright.

The native prairie ecosystem at Katy High School was created under the direction of the Katy Prairie Conservancy and the Wildlife Habitat Federation. The project started in 2018 continues to grow.

Ultimately, the Katy Prairie will contain 30-50 different native plant species, and also act as a natural retention area for future flooding events.

The location has quickly become a great area for the community to appreciate nature and the rich prairie history of Katy.

“This is a project that directly impacts our school and community; students helping students,” says Dr. Burrough.

The Katy Prairie is a project that impacts the entire Katy community.

Learn more at the Tiger Prairie website.


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