In May of 2019, we were able to add more outdoor learning and enhancement features to our Riverside playground. Thanks to the generosity of parents who donated money towards trees as teacher gifts in June 2018, and to a generous donation from the Elmira Kiwanis Club https://www.elmirakiwanisclub.com/
, we were able to hire John’s Nursery to plant dozens of new trees and shrubs of all different varieties to begin a windbreak along the West side of the field. The new plantings include a variety of flowers and berries, leaves and needles for children to learn about different species and in order to create habitat to attract birds and insects to our school yard. Janet Cox at John’s Nursery has been very helpful in choosing species that work well for school yards. We were also able to get more trees for our money by agreeing to have staff and students take on the job of spreading the mulch. The money we had was enough to complete phase 1 and we hope that we will be able to complete the 2nd phase of the project in future.
In Spring 2019, Riverside Public School, in partnership with the Children’s Centre, was also the recipient of a grant from Waterloo Region School Food Gardens to put in raised food garden beds on the East side of the school. This project is funded by Seeds of Diversity. To read more about this project, check out https://seeds.ca/schoolfoodgardens/our-project/
. The project funded all of the building and gardening tools and materials. EDSS built the garden bed boxes for us, and the children of Riverside hauled the soil to fill the beds. There are enough gardens for each class from Kindergarten to grade 3 to be responsible for planting and harvesting half of a garden. Being a part of planting, watching, waiting, and harvesting the vegetables helps children to appreciate where their food comes from and develop a rich connection to the cycle of life and seasons on our planet. It is also a great motivator for children to taste new healthy foods after having put in the effort to grow them from seed.
Want to know how you can help? Over the Summer, many Riverside families volunteered to weed and water the food gardens or to water the new trees and shrubs for a week at a time. We are so very grateful to all of those families for taking time out of their personal lives to help us maintain our living enhancements at school. We hope we can count on more families to help us out in the Summer of 2020. Also, please watch for School Council garden clean-up dates in the Spring and Fall to help maintain all of the gardens around the school. This is not a task that is taken care of by the school board and we greatly appreciate any help we can get to keep our school looking beautiful. The first one is scheduled for 9 am until noon on Saturday, October 19. Hope to see you there!
Here are some photos of the planting and mulching of the windbreak and of planting and harvesting the vegetables.
This Fall, 22 trees were installed by John’s nursery. The money for these was a result of the Riverside Outdoor Enhancement Committee’s fundraising efforts including grants from the Maple Syrup Festival and the Woolwich Community Fund and donations from parents as June teacher gifts. There are different native trees that provide a variety of leaf shapes, colour, shade, growing speeds and some berries, including Silver and Scarlet Maples, Oak, Kentucky Coffee Tree, Tulip Tree, Balsam Fir, White Spruce, Cedar, and Basswood. Some members from the Kiwanis Club came out to help plant 20 shrubs, along with Mrs. Soehner’s family, to add Red Osier Dogwood, Pussywillow, and Nannyberry. The Kiwanis Club also donated $2100 to add to the remaining money teachers received in donation gifts from parents in June. Plans are in the works to use this money for more trees and shrubs to create a windbreak on the West side of the schoolyard. Many thanks to the parents who joined Mr. Hatcher in weeding and cleaning out the gardens at the front of the school on our gardening Saturday!
Our new playspace is almost ready! Earthscape is nearing the end of construction and should wrap up by the end of this week. One of the last details was to lay new sod. It will need to be watered and protected so the fences will remain in place to allow the sod to root before the students start playing in this new space.
On the tree fundraising front, we have been awarded $3000 from the KWCF Woolwich Community Grant and we are waiting to hear about receiving funds from the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival. We are hopeful that we are on track with our fundraising efforts for trees with the goal of having John’s Nursery install the trees by September. We also had a generous offer from the Elmira Kiwanis Club. They have offered to help us plant shrubs, which we are hoping will also happen in September.
Thanks again to everyone who has contributed in some way to support this huge project! Staff and students are really getting excited to use this new space!
Here are some photos of the progress.
After months and months of meetings, research, phone calls, and planning, Earthscape began construction of the new playspace at Riverside! The shovels hit the ground on April 9th.
We are so grateful for the donations from various local businesses that have made this playground build possible. A special thank you to everyone in our school community who has volunteered or donated or fundraised towards this project over the past 5 years. The students of Riverside are anxiously watching and waiting for this project to finish. It surely will be a space enjoyed by all students and staff at Riverside PS.
Here are some photos of the progress.