Did you know that not all sculpture is made of marble, granite, bronze or concrete? Some of it can be made from living plants like rosemary, lavender and marigolds that are attached to underlying structures. And when you make a sculpture out of living plants, something interesting can happen. It can become a living laboratory where students can study how insects are attracted to plants, how predatory insects attack the first insects that arrived, and much more. The result? A living experiment where students can prepare for future careers in science and agriculture.

And that is exactly what is happening at a W B Saul High School-Agri Sciences in Philadelphia, PA, thanks to the Eco-Sculpture Project that was created by a high school teacher named Ms. Romano, who posted a request for project funding on DonorsChoose.org.

Creating a living laboratory for A living experiment where students can prepare for future careers in science and agriculture - Student Research Foundation


Ms. Romano Explains

“Students are working with Philadelphia’s Insectarium to create three large, interactive, educational, and living sculptures that focus on the benefits of predatory insects. We are focusing on insects that can be used to kill pests instead of using harsh pesticides and the importance of knowing what plants can go in your garden to support the health and safety of other plants. The students are going to be working with all students in our school to complete a research project and engage the community in what they are seeking to accomplish. These structures will be extremely large and will be interactive and educational. They will have living components and be a monument on our school grounds for years and years to come.”

Now, thanks to donations from the Student Research Foundation and a few other contributors who help pay for plants and supplies, Ms. Romano’s students are creating three beautiful living pieces of sculpture.

Students having fun creating a living laboratory where students can prepare for future careers in science and agriculture - Student Research Foundation

Thanks from Ms. Romano

Dear Student Research Foundation,

We are so grateful for your donation and generosity to our very large, very strange project. We have not finished, but our giant sculpture is 8 feet tall and about 10 feet wide. We are currently weaving recycled items including sheets, towels, jeans, bottles, cans, and lots of wiring from when the lights in our school were replaced. It looks like a hot mess right now, but because of your donation of awesome and rust proof spray paint, it will look awesome. I am so sorry you don’t get to see it completed (the competition will be at the end of March, so we are still working tirelessly). We have also been working on educating our school community about insects, recycling and are creating a video to share about how to properly recycle because as we are monitoring the trash in the classroom, there are many things that should be recycled (or not recycled) that are being placed in the incorrect bins. We truly cannot thank you enough for helping us in this competition!

With gratitude,
Ms. Romano

Thoughts About Careers

We don’t know if all these students will pursue future careers in science and agriculture but we are happy to have played a part in bringing this opportunity to over 200 students. We invite all students to explore their career options by participating in our career and college studies. Students who complete the free career test for high school students will receive information on college and career opportunities which match their interests.

We look forward to writing about the success of more DonorsChoose.org teacher projects here on the Student Research Foundation blog. Stay tuned!

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