Many Hawken community members may not be aware that Hawken has cultivated its own native garden, thanks to the combined efforts of teachers Claudia Tausz, Nick Fletcher, students from both the Mastery School and the Upper School, and numerous other members of the Hawken community. Located outside the greenhouse on the Mastery School campus, the garden was made possible, in large part, through funds Tausz garnered from a grant she received through the Ohio STEM Learning Network.
Restoration of the original garden - which was previously tended to by the Montessori School, had become overgrown, and was inadvertently mowed down by the landscaping crew even as the overhaul by Hawken students was underway - has been a long process, but also a labor of love. Over time, and with the help of Tausz and Fletcher, students planted all new native species last summer according to their original and well-researched design. After that, Tausz said, it was about “making sure that all of the plants in the first purposefully installed native garden on Hawken’s campuses grows.”
Apparently, they have done just that. In a recent update, Fletcher reported, “It has been amazing to see [the garden] in all its glory this summer with huge plants blooming and teeming with native pollinators. It went from nothing to a constant hub of activity in less than a year's time, and it is a real testament to the idea of creating measurable/tangible change and results in a very short time. Very much an 'If you build it, they will come' situation that sets our little space apart from almost every other space nearby.”
A community event was held in August to weed and clean up the space, and students continue to help maintain the garden. Fletcher reports that, by conservative estimates, they grew a couple thousand native plants this past year, includingmountain mint, blazing star, four varieties of milkweed, bee balm, big and little bluestem, goldenrod, beardtongue, rattlesnake master, vervain, and joe-pye.
Fletcher also shared that they will be holding two native plant sales this fall - one at HawkFest and another at the Mastery School of Hawken (date and time TBD). All proceeds will fund efforts to restore habitat at Hawken by growing and planting native species and removing invasive species.
An independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school, toddler through grade 12
Early Childhood, Lower, and Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124 Birchwood School of Hawken, 4400 West 140th Street, Cleveland, OH 44135 Upper School, PO Box 8002 (12465 County Line Rd), Gates Mills, OH 44040 Mastery School of Hawken, 11025 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106 Gries Center, 10823 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106