(COVINGTON, La) — After the last of the equipment was hauled away from the construction site where the new gym now stands, a substantial plot of land between the Briggs Assembly Center and the Wolf Dome was left with almost no vegetation of any sort. Not only this, but trash was strewn about it making the land starkly contrasted to the rest of the verdant, clean campus. So the new gym, a formidable structure that embellished the prowess and stature of St. Paul’s School, was plagued by an uninviting “no man’s land.”
This, however, was immediately addressed. On a Saturday early in the 2015-16 school year, Principal Trevor Watkins gathered a group of concerned St. Paul’s student volunteers and directed the project of laying sod on this area of campus. More recently, the Botanical Wolves in cooperation with the environmental science program have taken on the endeavor of turning the area into a wetland filled with a motley of plants native to Louisiana.
“This was Mr. Watkins’ idea from the getgo,” Environmental Science teacher Ann Phalzgraph said. “When he was a student here, he used to look out of (Mrs. Wiggins’) classroom window at a beautiful, natural nature area. Over the years, it’s been plowed down and looks bad. So, he wanted us to recreate a natural space.”
Not only will this reforestation project beautify and further integrate the St. Paul’s campus with its surroundings, but it will also function as a habitat for many species of local animals.
“We are also creating an area that will be ideal for Monarch butterflies which are near endangered,” Phalzgraph said, “Our long term goal is to transform this land into a community nature center where people and other students can come and observe all of the different things that we’re doing.”
Runoff from the gym’s air conditioning has been cleverly redistributed so that a shallow basin in the center of this area will contain water even during rainless periods. This will allow for the growth and burgeon of many different kinds of trees and plants.
When the Botanical wolves and environmental science students have completed their task, a Parsley Hawthorne Tree, Pond Cypress Trees, Bald Cypress Trees, Southern Sugar Maples, Spruce Pines, Strawberry Bushes, Long Leaf Pines, Rough Leaf Dogwoods, a Chinese and a native French tree, Silver Bells, a Mexican Plum, a Black Gum, Louisiana Irises, ferns, different lilies, Milkweed, and other species will all grow in this area that was barren wasteland less than a year ago.
I’m glad to see they are doing something with this area…
As always, a wonderful, informative account of the continued work of making Saint Paul’s an exceptional place for young men to grow up. Beautiful, ecological, eye-affirming and life engendering! Thanks for the write-up, Luc.