The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper


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Substitute teacher shares story of creation of the Biology Courtyard

Former teacher aids LT environment


Joe Holoubek, former Environmental Science, Biology, and current substitute teacher, spent his early years working at LT on creating what is now the Biology Courtyard, which resides along J-Wing and G-Wing at SC.  

Being the Sub Department Chairman of Life Sciences, Holoubek had many responsibilities, one being maintaining the Biology Courtyard, which he began in the early 1970s. Holoubek, along with other Biology teachers, collected native prairie plants from the Wolf Road Prairie, Forest Preserve Prairie, and the Des Plaines Prairie. They used the plants and put them in the courtyard to allow them to flourish. The courtyard held Compass plant, Little Bluestem, Big Bluestem, Purple Coneflower, and all kinds of different flowering plants.

“We had very neat stuff [in the courtyard],” Holoubek said. “For example, you could see many different animals coming in. We had squirrels, ducks, and rabbits. It was such a unique area and we maintained it as much as we could.”

The Biology Courtyard created opportunities for students in the Biology classes to identify plants and animals. There were different exercises used in the classes to identify the species residing in the courtyard. Holoubek and other Biology teachers also dug a hole to build a trench where each student could identify the different layers of soil. 

“When I came here after I retired, I told [the administration] that somebody needed to maintain [the courtyard],” Holoubek said. “I asked for a meeting with someone about what was there and what not to destroy. Two weeks later, I came back to SC and they destroyed everything. They cut [the plants] down arbitrarily without talking to anyone. It was an administrative decision and they thought it was just weeds. It’s a lack of communication which is the large problem. I wish they would continue with someone who would be responsible for this so it wouldn’t be destroyed.

Although the clearing of the courtyard has caused devastation amongst all LT science teachers, the efforts of other teachers in aiding the environment such as Pollinator club sponsor Patrick Page, have not stopped. 

“There’s not a lot of native environment left and if you want to make a difference in the world, you need to get native plants everywhere,” Page said. “We’re in this major decline of native plants. Most of the area around the schools have nowhere for native plants to grow. We really need to educate people in their own landscape to have plants that support the Earth and the wildlife.” 

The Pollinator club began with the planting of 48 native trees at NC in partnership with the Morton Arboretum. After that, it was decided to start a pollinator garden at NC. Since then, the Pollinator Club has planted $5,000 worth of plants in three years. 

“The bio courtyard is really important because [it was created] back in the ‘70s before the habitat was really decreasing and [Holoubek] took the steps to start the courtyard and the environmental science curriculum,” Page said. “I don’t think people around school really appreciate how important the Biology courtyard is.”

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Rachel Kowalski
Rachel Kowalski, Reporter
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