One part of the project that Straughn is most happy with is she was able to save a large, old tree in the wetlands area. She said plans originally called for the tree to be removed, but she pleaded for it to be saved.
Mark Bayes, with state Forestry Services, helped save the tree. Bayes was part of saving the Survivor Tree for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum.
While older students planted Friday, younger students gathered at the tree and heard about its survival.
Shubhan and Sarah showed plans for the scope of the project, pointing out where there will be welcome centers, teaching platforms, bridges and a dam. They also talked about trails that will be built around the wetlands in the future.
The wetlands still has to be filled with water. In May, students and volunteers will plant water lilies and other aquatic plants. In the fall, they will plant trees. Straughn said she plans also for students to plant vegetable and flower gardens.
The wetlands also will be available to residents of The Grove, a community adjacent to the school, Straughn said.
The only drawback for fifth-graders is that they will be in middle school by the time the wetlands classroom is complete.
Sarah and Shubhan said they've already brainstormed with Straughn about forming a middle school club to help maintain the wetlands or to use it as a classroom.