Sonoran Trails Middle School’s students win 2019 Heritage Grant Award

CAVE CREEK – Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD) announced that Sonoran Trails Middle School’s eighth graders from Mrs. Petrine’s class of the 2018-19 school year won a 2019 Heritage Grant it submitted to the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD).

The grant for the school’s “Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat” was approved by AZGFD in May 2019, receiving $9,844 toward the project.  Sonoran Trails Middle School’s (STMS) Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) also contributed $4,500 to the project, adding ocotillos to the space.

The Heritage Fund Grant Program was established by the AZGFD in 1992 as part of the overall Heritage Fund program.

The Heritage Fund money comes from Arizona Lottery ticket sales and was established by voter initiative in 1990. Heritage funding goes toward conservation efforts such as protecting endangered species, educating students and the general public about wildlife and the outdoors, and creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation, according to AZGFD.

Pictured: The area at Sonoran Trails Middle School where the new Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat will be planted with the funds awarded from the Heritage Grant.
(Photo courtesy of CCUSD)

The class that submitted the grant proposal are now freshman at Cactus Shadows High School. The former STMS students that submitted the grant proposal last October, and current STMS in SEED club are now planning where to place the trees and shrubs.

The students included the following plants for the habitat:  Desert ironwood; Mesquite; Blue Palo Verde; Desert Willow Trees (about 5 of each); Baja fairy duster, Ocotillo; San Marcos Hibiscus; and Purple Sage Shrubs (about 5 of each).

Another area at Sonoran Trails Middle School that will be transformed into a Schoolyard Wildlife Habitat.
(Photo courtesy of CCUSD)

“It is amazing when you give control over to students and ask them to solve an authentic problem, the wonderful solutions they can produce. We look forward to working with Arizona Game and Fish to complete their grant,” Principal, Bill Dolezal said.

Last year students in Mrs. Petrine’s class created and presented plans for creating a habitat that would enhance the campus and attract wildlife. 

Then they voted for the best presentation of their class that stood out among all of Mrs. Petrine’s classes.  The ideas from the winning presentation were incorporated into the grant that was submitted in October 2018. 

 “Our students are amazing problem-solvers as evidenced by this thoughtful school beautification project.  Now we can all enjoy their efforts on the STMS campus,” Superintendent Burdick said.

Sonoran Trails Middle School is an A+ School of Excellence requiring their students to study Chinese, French or Spanish as a core class.  For more information, visit CCUSD’s website at www.ccusd93.org .