Memphis Catholic Learning Garden
Memphis Catholic Middle and High School (MCMHS), in partnership with Come Alive Outside, The Kitchen Community and Michael Hatcher and Associates, wants to install Phase Two of the Learning Garden designed by MCMHS student in collaboration with landscape architecture students from Auburn University, Hinds Community College, Louisiana University and Mississippi State University.
As part of the Come Alive Outside Design Challenge, students from these four colleges and universities traveled to MCMHS in October of 2015 to work closely with the teachers and students during a two-day design charrette. The college students then developed these concepts into final Design Proposals. In November, the Mississippi State Design was selected as the winning by the students and teachers at MCMHS, as well as a panel of professional judges.
The Kitchen Community and Michael Hatcher and Associates installed the central garden with raised beds for growing food as Phase One of the Learning Garden in December. We are currently raising money to install Phase Two of the design, which includes the creation of a native wildlife habitat, and the installation of trees, native plants, wildflowers and additional paths and seating areas around the perimeter of the space.
January 20th – Febraury 20th: Conduct focused fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 for Phase Two.
March 7th: Site preparation and excavation by professional landscape contractor, including excavating paths, digging holes for trees and laying out planting areas.
March 12th: Community Build Day: Students, teachers, and volunteers from the local community will be invited to participate in planting and building out specific areas of the garden. Leaders from The Kitchen Community, Come Alive Outside, Michael Hatcher and Associates and the Urban Art Commission will be on hand to lead volunteer planting of vegetable beds, tree plantings, planting of native wildlife habitat, construction of mulch paths and the painting of a mural on the large wall facing the gardens.
Late March: Professional landscape contractor will finish construction of Phase 2 as provided for in the master plan and in accordance with the $10,000 budget.
why we’re doing it
Nature is essential to our health and happiness. From our physical health, to positive impacts on learning, mental health and stress levels, the proven benefits of spending time in nature are profound.
The challenge that the landscape professionals, college and high school students addressed when collaborating on this project was how to design nature back into our urban lives and transform an unused outdoor space into a place that would draw people outside and help them connect with the natural world.
From understanding where our food comes from to appreciating the importance of protecting and creating habitat for wildlife in urban areas, the Memphis Catholic Learning Garden is a model for how schoolyards can reconnect communities with the planet that we live on.