Going Native!

 In Ocean Academy

By: Kathleen Caffee/Science Teacher

Thanks to the research and hard work of our senior class at Ocean Academy, we will be going native.  Native plants are plants that have naturally existed in local areas for thousands if not millions of years.  They are well adapted to their local environment and therefore easy to care for!

We started out by exploring our soils.  The students were fortunate to have a guest speaker, Becky Laboy,  from the Ocean County Soil Conservation District to share a lot of valuable information on soil.  Did you know that all the soil in the world can be made up of one or a mix of the following: clay, silt and/or sand?  Later the students used their new knowledge to do a variety of tests on the garden soil.  They tested soil drainage as well as the percentages of different textures.  Using science skills and some math they determined that our garden consists of sandy loam.  They also prepared a sample to be sent to the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, an Rutgers Cooperative Extension.


Our gardeners then researched the variety of native perennials in New Jersey.  Using the information they gathered about our garden, they found plants that do well in the part sun, medium-high drainage soils and what it attracts.  Each student voted for their top 5 and the class together what the garden should have.  With their short list, students then created their own garden design to scale.  Using the internet, they found a nursery that sells their plants.  On a sunny September day, Cicconi Farms Inc. in Jackson, allowed our seniors to walk their nursery with a guide and pick out their flowers.  They had so much variety that it was difficult to limit our plant selection!

The seniors hard work is sure to pay off!  We are looking forward to seeing how our plants do in the next year!

Showing 12 comments
  • James Dolan

    I never went there, but it was very interesting & inspiring. Wish I was there to do it with them.

  • tirell ferrer

    Was not there, it looked very fun. Wish I was there to have fun to.

  • Carlos Gomez

    I think that they did a great job doing that!. I never got to do that.

  • Jack Nogueira

    That sounds cool. They look amazing.

  • Noah Horton

    I wish I went, it looks like it was very fun. But I wasn’t feeling good.

  • Elijah Spikes

    I wasn’t there but it looks fun.

  • Matthew English

    I was not there but personally don’t find plants very interesting, but what I did find interesting is that all of the soil in the world can be made up of one or a mix of clay, silt or sand.

  • Elijah Spikes

    I wasn’t there but looks fun. Looks like they learned a lot about plants.

  • Zachary Syanovitz

    I wasn’t there to learn about soil, but it looks as if there’s more then one soil. I would’ve liked to learn about that, so the students must of had fun with that one.

  • Anthony Chase

    It really sounds fun and I would have had a blast thats for sure.

  • james dobias

    I love plants it looks like it would of been a fun trip, and lesson. Maybe next year I will get to go and look/learn about plants.

  • Chris Kenney

    It was a fun experience. I really love farms and love to live on a farm someday.

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