Scarlett’s newly enhanced bird sanctuary is a gift from SESLA students

Story and video by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor

Students returning to Scarlett Middle School in September will quickly notice a new addition thanks to students in the Summer English as a Second Language Academy (SESLA).

Over the last three weeks, the students have enhanced Scarlett Woods, creating a new bird sanctuary complete with a perennial garden, bird houses, bird bath,  new trees and shrubs, mulch, and a colorful mural. 

SESLA teacher Katie Gibson explained that this summer, ESL students completed service projects to enhance the bird habitat in the Scarlett Woods. Students researched the four components of a habitat—food, water, cover and space—and had experiences at The Creature Conservancy, Leslie Science Center, and the Scarlett Woods. 
More than 275 family and community members gathered July 26 to dedicate the new space as they said a quote from the mural unison: “We share one planet and one humanity, there is no escaping this reality.”
“I couldn’t be more proud of the students of SESLA,” said Gibson. “They developed a firm understanding not only of the components of a habitat and migration but were able to apply it to multiple field experiences including the creature conservancy, The Leslie Science Center and teaching students and families about the Scarlett Woods.”
Middle School students taught 4th and 5th graders how to enhance the bird habitat.
Gibson explained that the students’ narrative, informational and persuasive writing is now being distributed to community businesses in the area.
Students read their pamphlets on the last day of the program and decided on a local business or organization to send their work to.
“Not only are they naturalists,  but activists,” she said. “SESLA gives students opportunities to enhance their writing and have a voice in something that they care about, they will be able to take these literacy skills and apply them in the classrooms this school year. Their work will leave a legacy at Scarlett Middle School and the Scarlett Woods not only for the students of Scarlett but the entire community.”

 Students analyze the bird habitat at Leslie Science Center to help them come up with ideas for how to enhance the bird habitat at Scarlett Woods.

During the program that ended July 27, the 136 ESL students in grades 4-8  worked with nine teachers, nine ELMAC interns, three teacher leaders and two University of Michigan faculty.  

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