We currently have five active partnerships between schools and land stewards. Four are focusing on planting eco-buffer shelterbelts and one is also restoring native prairie. More than 200 students have participated, supported by teachers and volunteers.
Hundreds of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses have been planted. We plan to report on plantings as they survive, this is an important part of the relationship between the participants and the plantings – they learn what species will do best and how to support them. If at first the plantings aren’t successful, we adapt our plan (we have had droughts in parts of Saskatchewan resulting in the loss of some plantings).
We will report to our funders how many square meters of plantings have survived. We use this measurement because we are planting ecosystems, not plantations. An ecosystem has layers and diversity, above and below ground. For example, a prairie strip may have twenty or more flowers and grasses planted in one square metre, while an eco-buffer may have a tree, small shrub, and flowers in the same amount of space.
With proper funding, each class could visit the site twice a year, in the fall and in the spring.