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A special Earth Day for Camas school

Skyridge marks completion of new native plant garden

Hundreds of students gathered outside Skyridge Middle School on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate Earth Day with the completion of a new native plant garden.

It was a festive scene just after 2 p.m. outside the school library as the Skyridge Jazz Band played upbeat tunes, the Skyhawk mascot peered over the rooftop to greet everyone, and students clapped and cheered. Principal Aaron Smith took a moment to speak about the history of a particularly significant native plant — the camas lily — before he and Associate Principal Clint Williams knelt to plant the last two camas lilies in the Skyridge Lewis and Clark native plant garden.

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The ceremony marked the end of a project two years in the making that involved more than 150 students, said Gayle Cooper, a seventh-grade language arts and social studies teacher. Some students put plants and boulders directly into the soil, and many participated in the process of selecting just the right plant species for the spot.

Where a plain patch of grass once stood outside the school’s library, now beds of rhododendrons, trillium, vine maples and other native plants line a new zig-zag gravel pathway. Cooper also plans to add a couple of rustic arbors, benches, some birdhouses and perhaps an owl or bat house to the garden, she said.

Read more at The Columbian.