From 2 to 6 pm on a chilly Nov. 13, Middle School students and parents of the DIG (Dwight-Englewood in the Garden) class joined members of the new Parents’ Association volunteer group D-E Garden Project for the group’s first Work Day. Their focus – the Lower School (LS) Garden’s beds. “After years of producing beautiful vegetables and flowers, and many educational experiences for LS science students, the soil in the LS garden beds is tired and in need of revitalization,” said Sixth Grade Dean and Garden Project member Tasha Urbanowski. “In a word, it needs compost!”
In an email to parents explaining the DIG classes’ role in the Work Day, Ms. Urbanowski said, “In the last several classes, DIG students have been discussing the benefits of compost in the vegetable garden and doing a great job of making finished compost to use as a fertilizer in the Umpleby garden. On November 13, during regular class time, they will get to use what they have learned to kick off a much-needed effort to revitalize the Garden’s beds.
“DIG students will demonstrate for the Garden Project parent volunteers how we make compost at school and how to work the finished compost into the soil. Then we will all move down to the Lower School to work compost into the soil in those beds. DIG students will go on to their regularly scheduled activities at 2:40, when the Lower School Planeteers club will take over and continue to work with the parent volunteers until 6 p.m.”
Following the successful Work Day, Ms. Urbanowski acknowledged all the efforts of those who volunteered their time that day:
“Thank you so much for your efforts shoveling and sweeping with the many tools and garden gloves contributed by Elizabeth Alvarez, and turning the 10-12 yards of rich compost, which Lana Dimidjian so generously donated, into the LS Garden’s soil. The spirit of that joint effort was heartfelt—uplifting and inspiring—bringing new energy to the shared vision for gardening here at D-E. Your hard work literally has enriched those starving beds and will enable them to feed a whole school year’s worth of education for so many young learners—all the science classes will make use of the garden, not to mention the pleasure and peace derived by all who walk down the stairs in the Lower School and look out on a thriving green space, in all the months to come next spring.
“The Middle School students who had the opportunity to talk to us about what they have learned about compost were really excited to share, and your interest in their talk encouraged them in their learning and modeled for them the importance of the topic. Just to know that parents like you are interested in gardening and to see you involved and digging in reinforces for them the value of gardening at school and understanding concepts of sustainability. And the teachers, who have been working to make gardens at school here for their students, are so happy to feel your support! It encourages us to carry on and look forward to a future full of flowers and life.”