Last Thursday, Spencer Van-Etten Middle School students and faculty celebrated the completion of the 6-week garden renovation project that was a part of the students’ service learning project.
Fifteen years ago, what started a butterfly garden for the community as well as the school to enjoy, featured flowers that had a tendency to become invasive, said 6th-grade teacher Emily Cron. The plot became overwhelming for maintenance, an eyesore for the school and unfit for children.
As part of the character education curriculum created by the Lion’s Club (Lion’s Quest) the 6th grade is required to take on a service-learning project. And this year, it was the garden’s turn to receive some tender loving care.
The class needed outside sponsors to make the project possible. Stagecoach Gas Services out of Owego donated all of the funds needed for the garden, which amounted to $700 — enough funds to cover 35 bags of mulch, 30 rose bushes, perennial flowers, six tons of gravel, landscaping edging stakes and underlayment. Platasia Nursery in Spencer also donated many daylilies and other plants to add color to the garden.
The students are very proud of their work. “They used to avoid the front of the school,” Cron said, “But now they can’t wait to sit under the umbrella on the picnic table while waiting to be picked up at the end of the day.”
The picnic table was also a school project that was constructed by the technology teacher, Mr. Dewitt, with the help of students in various grade levels.
Future 6th graders will maintain the garden in the years to come, and gardening savvy volunteer students will be working on the garden throughout the summer.