Water is becoming more valuable as the population grows, and a group of students from a local charter school has been touring Box Elder County to promote one of the best ways to conserve the precious resource.

Seventh- and eighth-graders at Promontory Expeditionary School of Learning in Perry visited the city councils in Tremonton and Garland recently to promote xeriscaping, the process of designing landscapes that don’t require supplemental water from irrigation.

“Xeriscaping has proved to be more cost effective, even if only a small part of the land is xeriscaped,” student Zoey Riser said. “It’s good because less money is spent on water and you spend less time taking care of it.”

Anneliese Nielson, a seventh grader at the school, said American families use about 320 gallons of water every day, and xeriscaping can help cut water use by half or even more.

“We live in a desert, so we really need to conserve water,” Nielson said. “Saving water also means saving money.”

Promontory School teacher Mary Beth Farrer said the educational tour of local cities and towns is part of the students’ curriculum about learning how desert environments work. Farrer and her students have been designing outdoor areas near the school to mimic desert and forest environments, as well as a pollination garden, to help with hands-on learning.

“Expeditionary learning is based off the core, same as other public schools,” Farrer said. “The point is, our students cover all the core they need by doing things that are service oriented.”

Tremonton City officials got in on the discussion during the students’ presentation. Councilmember Lyle Holmgren talked about “localscaping,” a movement to incorporate xeriscaping into peoples’ home landscapes while maintaining the lush, green lawns with which many are so reluctant to part.

“This is kind of compacting lawns to what we really need, and filling in the rest with rocks and so forth,” Holmgren said. “They’ve figured it out down south (in southern Utah), but we’re still kind of feeling our way here in northern Utah.”

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