St. Mark School in Venice will soon complete environmentally friendly changes to their campus, including a cutting-edge water filtration system, new drought-tolerant landscaping and a community garden.

The improvements are part of the elementary school’s Greening and Water Reclamation Project, a $150,000 initiative funded by school families and church donors.

The project also boasts a water collection system for 3,200 gallons of water in newly installed refillable cisterns. In addition, the school replaced 15,000 square feet of asphalt with decomposed granite, permeable pavers, mulch and sand in order to solve drainage problems.

Venice architect and St. Mark School parent Isabelle Duvivie proposed the project idea several years ago.

She commented on the changes, saying, “Our project improves coastal waters by removing runoff from Mother’s Beach, cools our campus by providing shade, creates habitat for birds and butterflies, reduces our energy consumption and creates science learning opportunities.”

St. Mark pastor Father Paul Spellman said the project emphasized the pope’s message of caring for the environment.

“By undertaking this project we are teaching our children how to be responsible caretakers of our planet, and providing them with an environmentally-friendly atmosphere for their lunch area and their recess time,” he said.