Cypress Trails Elementary School in Royal Palm Beach has been recognized as a “Green School of Quality” by the FAU Pine Jog Environmental Green School Recognition Program. The award will be presented to Cypress Trails at the eighth annual awards luncheon on May 25.
There are three different categories being recognized. They are: School of Promise, School of Quality and School of Excellence. This is Cypress Trails’ first year applying for the FAU Pine Jog Environmental Green School Recognition Program.
A big highlight this year at the school is the new butterfly garden and outdoor learning area. In conjunction with 4H and Cub Club After Care, the “pits” that surround the garden serve as an outdoor learning lab where students can journal, document and illustrate their observations.
The campus has native plants and trees around the property, as well as plantings of native species at the marquee and flag pole. Teachers utilize wind decorations outside their classroom and plans are to incorporate some outdoor gardens outside the internal classroom doors.
Future plans are to research the inclusion and construction of aquaponics at the school. The school is applying for grants to support and construct the necessary materials. Cypress Trails already has raised bed gardens and will work to reestablish plants within the beds for utilization of the students. Teachers are encouraged to participate in the planning and development of the new outdoor learning areas.
In addition, Cypress Trails continues its green efforts with the expansion and integration of its walking trail. There is a nature/walking trail around the perimeter of the physical education field that is used in science and PE classes. The trail was cut out of the wooded easement around the school, so it is home to many animals, such as raccoons, squirrels and opossums.
There is a fifth grade Earth Club, and those students are responsible for maintaining the trail, which includes maintaining the habitats. They usually trim back the palm fronds and other branches and place them on top of existing habitats to give the animal added protection from the elements. The club also seeks to add QR codes with additional information on the trail to allow students to access details about the trail and the native plant and animal life that resides there.
ABOVE: Cypress Trails students learn about plants outside.