Editor's note: The following is a press release from Valley View School District 365U.
With last weekend’s “Garden Build Day” behind them, Tibbott Elementary School families, staff and students are eagerly anticipating the Sept. 29 Green Apple Day of Service dedication of their new 2,800 square foot outdoor classroom area that includes a variety of edible gardens.
“We’re so excited to be able to do this for our kids,” said Principal Ana Wilson.
The Garden Build Day project was financed by a $2,000 grant from the Whole Foods Foundation and supported by some significant time and services donated by a variety of area businesses and community individuals. Eight different garden areas were built and installed Saturday in an area on the northeast side of the school outside 2nd grade classrooms.
In an effort to secure the necessary support, Wilson sought a “community mentor” through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Apple Day of Service initiative. Tibbott was paired with a team from Wight & Company, a Darien-based architecture, engineering and construction firm. The Garden was designed by Wight with input from the Tibbott community.
“This is certainly not our area of expertise. They’ve been a big help to us,” Wilson said. “How lucky can we get? We’re getting an amazing project.”
The Tibbott community, including mentors from Wight, spent all day Saturday constructing the garden and putting fill in the plant areas. Of course, the actual planting of the gardens won’t take place until next spring.
“Between now and May, the kids will plant seedlings inside their rooms and they’ll be able to see the connection between the seeds they plant and whatever they harvest from the soil,” Wilson said, adding that students will also maintain the garden using water captured in rain barrels connected to Tibbott downspouts. “We’ll integrate this into the curriculum as much as possible. We have great buy-in from our staff.”
Wilson added that a $5,000 grant from the VVSD Nutrition Services Department will cover the materials and training necessary for the actual integration into the school’s curriculum.”
The 10 a.m. Sept. 29 Green Apple Day of Service will include a ribbon cutting, a performance by the DePaul University Men’s A Capella Group and a variety of children’s activities including the building of six “college-bound” scarecrows, construction of mini “homecoming” floats, rock painting and salsa tasting. Winners of the rain barrel artwork design contest will also be announced.
Wilson also plans to honor the project’s mentors from Wight, Tameling Industries, Home Depot, Whole Foods and Jimmy John’s for their contributions to the project.
“This is a huge undertaking,” she said. “But it’s going to be well worth it.”