Fourth graders from Edison Elementary School visited the Niles West High School Prairie Restoration at Niles West recently.
The Advanced Placement Environmental Sciences (APES) students in Chris Barnett and Susan Schram’s classes set up information stations during the tour, and taught the students about the biodiversity of the prairie, how to identify the different species of flora and fauna, seed dispersal, ecology, and more.
The prairie is maintained by the school as a tool to better understand the ecology of the area and to teach students of all ages what the Illinois landscape was like hundreds of years ago. The site is certified and registered by Monarch Watch as an official Monarch Waystation, and there were plenty of the butterflies fluttering around during the students’ visit. West’s prairie is also a Certified Schoolyard Habitats Site, a place to learn outdoors and connect with nature while providing the habitat elements wildlife need to thrive: food, water, cover and places to raise young.
New this school year, AP Environmental Science is now a dual credit college course through Loyola University of Chicago. Students meeting dual credit criteria can earn science college course credit.