About 25 volunteers turned out on Oct. 16 with rakes, shovels and gloves to put in new foundation plantings around Churchill School.
Their work is just the first part of a larger plan to improve landscaping and outdoor recreation at the school. This long-term strategy for Churchill is a collaboration between the Homewood PTA and School District 153.
Local landscape architect, Jose Magan, donated his services to create an overall plan for the site. The plan provides space for native plants, vegetables and an arts/sculpture garden. It also has areas set-aside for playground equipment, active play, organized sports as well as places to curl up with a book.
Different parts of the plan will be implemented over time, as school district and PTA funding allow.
In the first phase of the work, the PTA donated all the new foundation plantings and recruited the volunteer labor needed to get it all in the ground.
PTA Beautification Committee Chair Rachael Bush Middleton reported that volunteers planted nine ornamental trees, over 130 shrubs, and moved about 12 yards of soil and 16 yards of mulch. She said the new plants are native to the area and should require little in terms of water and maintenance.
"We wanted to focus first on areas where the kids spend the most time. The ultimate goal is to draw students into the project and into their environment. For example, we installed web frames to help with the 3rd-grade's science unit on spiders," Middleton said.
A priority for future phases of work is to replace aging playground equipment.