The Girls STEM Club at Perrysburg Junior High School (PJHS) is a collaborative effort fostering an enriched and authentic experience for students and the community. During the 2020-2021 school year, the club began discussing ways to apply STEM principles to the PJHS campus. This discussion led to the idea of creating a prairie at PJHS. The students relied on their experiences and resources from club advisors to develop a plan, market and present their plan, and learn how to pool community resources to get a well conceived plan into action.

The PJHS prairie provides an outdoor classroom environment to promote creative scientific thinking, problem solving and nature and science standards.

Jennifer Krueger, PJHS Science Teacher and Girls STEM Club Advisor shared: “We invited the community to support our mission in bringing these resources to our students and they did! Gifts made to the Perrysburg Schools Foundation by ProMedica and the Country Garden Club of Perrysburg were matched by a family foundation. These along with local resources provided by Ryan Woodring and the Toledo Zoo helped to bring the prairie to fruition.”

The prairie has also been utilized for professional development for staff members at PJHS. They focused on how to use the prairie to not only engage students in scientific learning but to align lessons with the standards provided by the Ohio Department of Education and the expectations of the Perrysburg community, school district and school. The professional development included science teachers, but also teachers from other content areas who developed cross-curricular lessons.

The PJHS Science Department shared their excitement that the prairie is creating a “carbon sink” to support the longevity of the surroundings in our community, returning the land to a more natural and native landscape, giving students another outlet to make scientific discoveries, and engaging students in an authentic environment to consider future STEM-related professions. The prairie is also maintenance-free.

In addition to student learning, the prairie at PJHS is open for community use during non-school hours. We invite you to see it for yourself weekdays after 3 p.m., or during daylight hours on the weekends. The prairie is located at the PJHS campus (550 E South Boundary, Perrysburg), adjacent to I-75 near Steinecker Stadium.