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Friday, May 6, 2016

Science project blooms in Aurelia

Friday, May 21, 2010

This group of Aurelia students worked hard in landscaping a vacant lot across from the school. Photo by Dan Whitney
AURELIA - A group of science students at Aurelia High School were recently approved for a grant. Called the "Trees for Kids and Trees for Teens, " the grant is funded by the Iowa DNR Forestry Bureau, MidAmerican Energy, Black Hills Energy, Alliant Energy, Iowa Bankers Association, Trees Forever, Iowa Tree Farm Committee and the Iowa Woodlan Owners Association.

As you may have guessed from the sponsorship, the grant was for a tree-planting project.

Science teacher Will Dibel and his students received a sum of $1014 from the grant and they used the money to turn the Aurelia school's empty lot on Ash and 4th Streets into a "park/nature area."

The lot in question was given to the Aurelia District a couple of years ago by Aurelia alumnus Beverly Fuhrmann, whose family had moved the house that was on the lot for many years back to its original location on the family farm north of Aurelia. The lot has been empty (except for a concete slab where the garage had been) since that time, while the school administration thought about what they wanted to do with it.

Aurelia High School science teacher Will Dible (left foreground) worked side-by-side with his students in developing the former vacant lot. Photo by Dan Whitney
There was some talk about about turning the area, which is located right across the street from the school, into some aditional parking, and there was also discussion about makng it a spot for students to do some outdoor studying in good weather. The grant money helped Dibel and his class fulfill their dream idea for making good use of the lot.

The group ordered a number of trees which need minimal upkeep, the city of Aurelia helped out by removing the cement slab and also by hauling several loads of dirt to the site, and the students worked many hours getting the lot ready for its transformation into a park/nature area.

Recently, the students got together and planted Japanese Lilac, American Yellowood, American Ironwood, Serviceberry, and Eastern Redbud trees on the lot. They are also creating a mulch path to a circular seating area, which will be lined with

perennials and will and also be home to a bench that was made in shop class by group members Kevin Hernandez and Kaleb Howey. Group member Travis Otto poured a concrete slab on which the bench will sit.

Dibel said the group also plans to have a flower bed, which students will be re-planting each year, and they will also be planting four more trees elsewhere on school property. They have planted two Japanese Lilacs and will be planting two more trees as soon as possible.

Caring for the trees and flowers, as well as for the area in general, will be the responsibility of Aurelia High School students for the next year, and will then be the responsibility of the Middle School students, when the high school classes move to Alta in the 2011-2012 school year.

A very pleased Dible said,"This project could not have been possible without the help of the city of Aurelia, the Andersons, Butch Sleezer, Bomgaars of Cherokee, the Bruces, Duane Kent, Del's Gardening Center in Spencer, Jerry Sandine, Mark Sangwin, and Gary Otto," who all helped the students on their project..

The Aurelia High School students who have been involved in the project include seniors Erin Laursen, Amanda Felten, Nick Hirschman, Lindsey Bruce, Ashley Anderson and Travis Otto; juniors Shaina Thevenin, Amber Loucks, Beckett Smith and Meghan Glawe; and sophomores Kira Mongan, Lexy Tuttle, Kerstin Tuttle, Kaleb Howey, Kevin Hernandez, Kate Carlson, Allyson Zarr, Jeff Carlson and Jessica Schulz.

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