As a teacher at the IPS/Butler Lab School 60, I thought it would be perfect for my pre–kindergarten students and their families to engage in a year-long study of the meadows there. Our class then composed a story encompassing the work they had completed, called A Meadow’s Tale.
Written and illustrated by my students, A Meadow’s Tale follows a meadow mouse named Fern in search of spring with the help of Terry the painted turtle, Lemon the rabbit, and Eloise the monarch. From the perspective of young children, the story was greatly inspired by the works of A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter.
Following the changing landscape, students then studied the late-fall meadow, which included the browning milkweed leaves and monarchs stopping to feast before traveling south for the winter. An understanding of the meadow’s bed as a warm bungalow for meadow mice was a cherished winter lesson. Much to all our dismay, the revelation that mosquitos hibernate is remembered, too. With grand anticipation of his return, the painted turtle, Terry lay buried in the pond muck throughout our long winter studies.
As spring approached, we studied the awakening meadow, and the composition of A Meadow’s Tale began. After a weekend in early spring, I reported back to them that Terry was seen swimming across the pond, which brought immense delight and confirmation that their studies and arrangement of A Meadow’s Tale were precise.
With our studies of the meadows at Cyntheanne Park, we found greater understanding of the ecological benefits of the area. There was, and still is, hope that this study inspires and motivates the installation of meadows across more cities in Indiana.