School garden benefits from Lowe's Heroes
Thomaston — The Common Ground Garden and Outdoor Classroom at Thomaston Grammar School reaped the benefit of a local company's annual community service project.
For more than 10 years, Lowe's Heroes have been transforming lives one community at a time with its volunteer program. The program encourages employees in a location to work as a team and adopt a volunteer project with a local nonprofit organization or K-12 public school and make a difference.
This year, the fifth grade at Thomaston Grammar School was the recipient of the local Lowe's generosity. Store manager Bill Doerhing and a team of associates spent the day Oct. 4 constructing a presentation stage for the class garden and outdoor classroom.
Nancy Killoran, who is the English as Second Language teacher and local site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity, oversaw the project. Horch Roofing of Warren added the metal roof Oct. 5 for rain water collection, so the students do not have to lug water from the school.
Four teachers from the school started the garden and outdoor classroom as an Expeditionary Learning School in 2009.
"It started with two raised beds," said teacher Lynn Snow. Now the garden has more than 13 beds of varying vegetation. From tomatoes to herbs to flowers to composting, each year the fifth grade students are responsible for planting, weeding, watering and harvesting their crops.
The garden incorporates the fifth grade classroom studies of reading, math and social studies. The students read about plants, design the garden additions to scale, and act as landscapers — clearing the annual weeds and adding more offerings to the garden.
As the vegetation matures, the students harvest their product and offer it to soup kitchens and the school lunch menu.
In the spring, the students sell seed packets to raise money for their projects.
"This teaches them sales, production and delivery," said Snow. Last year, the seed sales netted $1,200.
Another of the original four teachers — Anne Pavalkis — said she is responsible for "putting the gardens to bed in the fall and waking them up in the spring."
The other teachers involved in the inception were Dan Allen, who now teaches at Oceanside West and Colleen Kreps, who retired last year.
Susan Watts moved from seventh grade to the fifth grade, and is now helping with the project.
Snow said countless family members and community volunteers have been involved in the gardens. Additionally, local businesses have contributed in many ways to the success of the project.
Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
594-4401 ext. 125
Beth rejoined Courier Publications' news staff in February 2013. She previously worked at The Courier-Gazette from 1981 to 1990.
Her coverage area includes Warren, Union, Friendship, Waldoboro, Washington, and Thomaston and RSU40.
Beth has a passion for photography, and a degree from the University of Maine at Augusta, in affiliation with the Maine Photographic Workshop in Rockport.
Aside from photography, Beth enjoys running and walks along the waterfront, as well as other outdoor activities. She has a daughter, Claire, who is 13.
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