Bryant Natural Wonders Courtyard

Bryant Middle School

October 19, 2018
by Melanie Check

Happy Fall!

It’s starting to look like fall in the Bryant Natural Wonders Courtyard. The image below was taken by Mrs. Mark, when her Life Skills group visited the courtyard on 10/18/18.

Please click the link below to read an essay written by Bryant’s very own Jessica Koehler, a 7th grade student. Included in her essay are great ideas for classroom activities in the courtyard.

Bryant Natural Wonders Essay

September 14, 2018
by Melanie Check

Open House in the Courtyard

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone who stopped by the Natural Wonders Courtyard Wednesday night during the open house. A total of $166.00 was raised in donations! A special thank you goes out to Dr. Glenn Maleyko, The Alenzi Family, The DeKoning Family, and The Farhat Family for their donations. Your names will soon be added to the plaque featured below. Free raffle tickets were also given to parents who visited the courtyard. Congratulations to our raffle winners Yasmeen Klaik, Mariam Homayed, and Ali Chahine! Enjoy your Tim Hortons gift cards! 

 Above is the “Sponsors of Bryant’s Natural Wonders Courtyard” plaque that is showcased outside of the front office. Would you like to see your name on the plaque too? Make a $50.00 donation as an individual sponsor or a $100.00 donation as a business sponsor. All checks should be made out to “Courtyard Club”.  For more information regarding donations, please contact Nicole Mark at 313-827-2910.


Dr. Maleyko, students, and staff smile for pictures in the Courtyard at the Bryant Open House (9/12/18)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

September 7, 2018
by Melanie Check

Welcome Back!

“Thank You” to Emily Maginity and her mom, Lynn Maginity, for helping to keep the courtyard looking beautiful this summer. Emily said that she helped in the courtyard by pulling weeds and getting rid of some of the dead flowers. She also started growing a lemon tree at home this summer!

Pictured above is Emily with the Bryant’s Natural Wonders sign.


We hope you all had a wonderful summer!  We are happy to have you at Bryant Middle School and can’t wait to see you in the courtyard! 

June 12, 2018
by Mary Elaswad

Summer is here!

Welcome summer! 

Whether you had class indoors or outdoors, you’ve worked hard and are no doubt looking forward to a relaxing and/or adventurous vacation!

Much appreciation goes to those who used and helped shape the Courtyard into a pleasant and workable space.

Special recognition goes to the 8th Grade Student Council who, along with Mrs. Lessel, decided on the keepsake they wanted to donate to the Courtyard.  We hope they enjoy their summer vacation and wish them all the best in High School!


“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!” 
― Kenneth GrahameThe Wind in the Willows

Thanks also goes to Mr. Renko for donating a bird feeder.

According to the  Michigan Bird Records Committee (MBRC), there are 450 species included in the official list of birds that are associated with Michigan.  The one pictured here is a sparrow.

Elsewhere in the Courtyard, the summer blooms are arriving:


rose                                   phlox                                sweet william

The Girl Scouts arrived and did a great job pulling weeds and planting decorative flowers at the edge of the butterfly garden.  Pizza was provided for them as well so they had plenty of energy for completing their task!


To keep the Courtyard looking it’s best requires a lot of dedication and work.  For that we wish to especially thank Mrs. Ruth Tozzi and Mrs. Nicole Mark.  Their consistent effort maintaining, pruning, weeding, and planting, continue to make the Courtyard a place we can all enjoy.  If you wish to volunteer to help over the summer, please sign up here:  or call Mrs. Tozzi to set up a time that works.

If  you would like to donate a plant, currently the Courtyard is asking for columbine and trumpet vines.

Thank you very much and have a great summer!

~ Courtyard Committee~

May 24, 2018
by Mary Elaswad

Eighth Grade Students Study in the Outdoor Classroom

Mrs. Doner’s enrichment class has been helping in the Courtyard.  Here are some of their reflections:


Natural Wonders

When you think of a garden and a pond, you don’t think of one being at school. Well at Bryant Middle School things are different.  We believe that students should always have access to nature. What I am talking about is the Natural Wonders AKA the Courtyard. The Courtyard is right next to the cross walk. When you are in the Courtyard you are closer to nature at school. For example, after a storm we went to the Courtyard to check out the pond. We saw tadpoles in the pond and we took pictures of them. We also like to reuse old things. Like, there was a rusted wheelbarrow and we took it, added rocks on the bottom, then put soil on top of it, then we took flowers and planted them in the wheelbarrow. It looks fabulous! So stop by our Bryant “Natural Wonders” and explore all it has to offer.  


Mrs.  Lessel took her eighth grade English class outside.  They were reading, studying and working cooperatively while enjoying the Courtyard.




~Special Thanks to Mrs. Lessel and the Student Council for their ongoing support and encouragement for use of the Courtyard~

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

-The Courtyard Committee

May 17, 2018
by Mary Elaswad

What do you do with an old, rusty wheelbarrow? Build a garden!

With the guidance of Mrs. Gass, four students from Mrs. Doner’s enrichment class garden-sculpted an old wheelbarrow.


First, they asked Mr. Mathers to drill some holes in the bottom of the wheelbarrow to drain excess water.  Then,  some of the students from the enrichment class added small stones for extra drainage.  Too much water can kill the plants.


Next, they poured in the potting soil and arranged the plants until they were happy with the arrangement BEFORE taking them out of their pots. They finished with a work of art!


Other students from Mrs. Doner’s enrichment class helped paint benches in the Courtyard.


While out in the Courtyard one afternoon, Mrs. Duquette and her class spotted ducks in the pond…

and finches and cardinals in the trees…



Mrs. Lessel’s Student Council has taken a leadership role in encouraging the use of the Courtyard an outdoor classroom. They have been discussing with Mrs. Tozzi and Mrs. Mark ideas for how they can best contribute to such use.  We look forward to their ideas and input.

We continue to encourage your use of the Courtyard as an outdoor classroom!

Enjoy class outside ~

Enjoy the Warm Weather.




May 1, 2018
by Mary Elaswad

Volunteers Wanted for Summer/Mr. Brown’s Class takes a Break

Calling All Bryant Families! We are looking for volunteers to help maintain the Bryant Natural Wonders Courtyard this summer. Will you have an hour or two to spare? If you and your family enjoy being outside and want to take a part in enjoying and keeping this outdoor classroom looking good, email Ruth Tozzi at or sign up with the sign-up genius provided by the PTA:  VOLUNTEER SIGN-UP

Ruth attended the last PTA meeting and some parents have already volunteered to help! Mrs. Tozzi talked about the history of the Courtyard. She also talked about its present state and future plans.

sign with pictures of the beginning of the Courtyard in 2007.       sign of Courtyard saying "look how far we have come".


She reiterated that the more volunteers we have, the more we can make a difference in the wonderful resource! Thank you for your interest and participation!

Last week, Mr. Brown’s advanced math class took full advantage of a brief break between morning and afternoon M-Step testing. They measured another area of the Courtyard for more pea gravel.
 Mr. Brown with students in the Courtyard    

Mr. Brown with students in the Courtyard.








The pea gravel was ordered by Mrs. Tozzi and spread on Friday by strong staff members including Mr. Borg, Mr. Blake, Mr. Kerr, and Mr. Kettel who volunteered their time after school. Flower beds were cleaned up and flowers planted by Mrs. Doner, Mrs. Tozzi, Mrs. Debiasi and Mrs. Mark.
Thank you, Thank YOU, THANK YOU!

Mrs. Doner’s enrichment class will be spending time in the courtyard this week spreading mulch in the flower beds. They may also take advantage of the warm weather this week by doing their classroom presentations in the Courtyard.

If you go out to the Courtyard you will see trees, bushes and flowers beginning to bud and bloom. Below is a decorative peach (decorative only, the peaches are inedible!)

decorative peach tree with buds       budding decorative peach tree

The pond has been drained and refilled. Can anyone answer this question: How does a leach make its way into a man-made pond with no water source besides a garden hose and rain? Ask Mrs. Mark why she wants to know.

Also, a Girl scout troop is interested in helping on May 18. They will assist with planting new plants that attract butterflies.

It seems that Spring is finally here!

April 15, 2018
by Mary Elaswad

My, it’s unexpectedly cold outside!

Not only has it been unexpectedly cold outside, but Bryant school and many of the residences in the community have been without power.

If you’re wondering why the weather has been so icy when it should be spring, Dale Eck from the Global Forecast Center at the Weather Channel offers an explanation:


After last Friday’s wonderful warm up, Michigan is experiencing a strong storm (blizzard) coming out of the Rockies, over the Northern Plains and Great Lakes, bringing more cold weather for the week ahead.  Combined with last week’s Canadian just streams ‘dislodging the cold air from the poles”, Michigan spring seems to be on hold and Courtyard activities temporarily ‘put on ice’!

sign of Natural Wonders and Courtyard

As the state of Courtyard is being assessed, Ruth Tozzi reported that one of the white pine trees had to be removed.  According to Mrs. Tozzi, “the pine tree disease that caused it’s demise, is “rust” spore.  It starts at the end of the branch and works it’s way through the tree.” For more information about this particular problem see the following site:


We’re glad to say that one white pine still stands!

white pine in Courtyard

~ The Courtyard Committee

March 29, 2018
by Mary Elaswad

Getting Underway

So much more happens in the Courtyard in spring!

Teachers are scheduling their classes for Courtyard time via the “Courtyard Usage Schedule” provided by Mrs.  Mark.

This week, Mrs. Doner’s 8th grade enrichment class got to work! The Courtyard looks markedly different since they were out there raking and cleaning in and around the pond and pea gravel.  The students are eager to be outside and are asking when they can come out with their class!   Thank you for your enthusiasm and hard work!



Mr. Brown’s Algebra 1 students were in the Courtyard measuring an undeveloped area. This wasn’t as easy as it sounds when you consider you need to subtract the circumference of the tree and also subtract the area of a rectangular grate. Six groups of students took measurements. I wonder if they all got the same results?





Mrs. Tozzi, the person responsible for changing the courtyard area from a jumbled mess to the manicured area that it is today, has been awarded a sum of money from the PTA for supplies.  There are plans for adding pea gravel to the area around the pond, wood chips around the trees and bulbs for flowers in the central garden.

Mrs. Tozzi feels strongly about keeping the overgrown area of the Courtyard in its more natural state. She has multiple reasons for this including attracting more wildlife and making science lessons more readily available.

To encourage classroom use of the Courtyard, Ms. Kelly Murphy, has offered the following link for a number of fun and interesting activities.


Have a wonderful spring break!


March 20, 2018
by Mary Elaswad
1 Comment

~Happy First Day of Spring~

The Courtyard is springing to life – in its own way and in its own time!

St. Patrick’s Day is behind us, but there is definitely a nip in the air.

As the Courtyard awakens, the Committee is happy to let you know that the first bench has arrived thanks to  Mr. Cialone’s Dearborn High School Advanced Wood Tech class.Hand made wooden flat-top benchThere are plans for five more to accommodate your classes!   We are happy to encourage you to connect with the outdoors and take your classes outside.  Be creative, be scientific!  It is remains the goal of the Courtyard to take advantage of this outdoor classroom, engage in authentic learning in a natural environment, and expand insights so that we can develop a deeper and appreciative understanding of what it is to be a part of the natural world .


In the meantime, it is wonderful (and educational) to ponder nature’s subtle surprises.

Can you spot the squirrel?  (Hint:  you may need to enlarge the photo).

squirrel hiding in a nest made of leaves on the side of a tree

Special thanks to Ms. Grodzicki for sharing this adorable picture.


Welcome spring!

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