By Emma Bowen
Bozeman High School’s Mandeville Creek will be undergoing a major transformation this summer that will benefit students, teachers and anyone lucky enough to pass by. The summer project, led by biology teacher Robin Hompesch, is planned to continue the same construction on the creek from Lamme Road up to the front door of BHS. Along with the creek reconstruction, trees and shrubs will be planted; more artwork, benches and sculptures will be added, and the construction of the long-awaited outdoor classrooms will begin.
One outdoor classroom is already in the works for this summer’s construction. Any additional funds for the creek will be put toward accelerating the building of additional outdoor classrooms and a plaza that will double for eating and learning, where kids can “be out next to a stream with a little waterfall and the baby ducks, looking up at the Bridgers,” according to Hompesch.
Students next year can expect the Bison classroom to be “an amphitheatre with vegetation along the outside” in order to promote a structured learning environment for students outside of the classroom.
The outdoor classrooms have been designed so teachers can be able to go outside with their students and still have that little bit of structure to still be learning and productive.
Hompesch explains how currently outside kids lay down and teachers “lose about one third or one fourth of the kids. And so for me as a teacher I can’t do that. I need to know that the hour is not wasted.”
All of these improvements can be credited to Hompesch and a group of dedicated parent volunteers. The core volunteer group, also known as the “Stream Team,” consists of Hompesch, engineer Chris Wasia, hydrology riparian specialist Scott Gillilan, landscaper Amy Stephan and Abigail Breuer. Hompesch says that the help from the community has been incredible, adding that “I can’t say enough” about them.
Hompesch notes the intense work would make anyone question their decision to start such a huge project but the “finished product is totally worth it.”
“It’s just been the best, stressful, but I think this summer will be a lot easier,” Hompesch says hopefully.
Hompesch’s future goals include continuing construction of the creek all the way up to Durston; but for now the group will focus on planting and building.
On May 16, creek supporters will host a “planting party” to finish up this section of the creek with community services hours and food.
“Come play in the creek with us,” laughs Hompesch.
Mandeville Creek: Moving Forward
By Emma Bowen