Puckett High School (Rankin County School District) - Gardens of Puckett

Partners: TempStaff, People’s Bank, Keep Mississippi Beautiful, Keep the Rez Beautiful, Woodmen of the World, Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association, Puckett Industries, Lowe’s, The Town of Puckett, Rankin County Board of Supervisors, Mississippi Watercolor Society, Walmart, Rivers Plant Farm, The Marble Place, The Scott Miracle Grow Company, Medical Assurance of Mississippi, Lakeland Yard and Garden, City of Flowood landscape engineer, Mrs. Shelia Downs, Mrs. Lana Sturgon, Dr. Milton Matthews, Mrs. Linda Dees, Mrs. Cathy Allen, Dr. Tom Burnham, Mr. Prentiss Calhoun, Mr. Bob Stribling, Miss Samantha Moore, Mrs. Susan Wellington, Mr. Robert Means, Bro. TJ Bates, Lowe’s Heroes, Rhonda Rivers, Joy Rivers, Mississippi Urban Forestry Council, Mississippi Cut-Flower Association, Mr. Walt Grayson of WLBT, Hometown Rankin, WGK Inc., Rankin County News, Mr. Robert Crain, Mrs. Nichole Robinson, Mrs. Amy Tullos, Dr. Tanya Crain, Dr. Sue Townsend

Students impacted: 350
Volunteers: 20 organizations
Partnership duration: 7 years

Gardens of Puckett was the first of many student-led projects to improve the aesthetics and sense of ownership on campus. Under the direction of art teacher Chuck Rhoads, students formed a committee to plan and design solutions with local school administration. Collaboration has been central to success by bringing together art, math and vocational departments to plan and implement projects. Through the years, the gardens have expanded from a small 6' x 80' garden to two gardens covering more than an acre. Students solved a drainage problem by installing a man-made creek and also built a water fountain from recycled materials. More recent projects included five raised flower beds and butterfly gardens. 

Activities:

• Cross-campus collaboration to design and build gardens, including 7-month butterfly and raised-bed garden projects

• Staged Spring Art Day event with support of $2,000 grant from Keep Mississippi Beautiful

• Engagement with Mississippi Urban Forest Council, which donated 2500 daffodil and tulip bulbs

• Art students recycled granite remnants into cheese trays to sell during school fundraisers 

Impacts:

• Increased environmental awareness

• Increased knowledge of native butterfly species and plants that attract them

• 3,000 volunteer hours donated by community

• Art students assist with other beautification projects in the community