Following the destruction and clean-up after last summer’s derecho, the land surrounding Green Bank Elementary-Middle School was a bit bare. The large area of pine trees has been cleared out, leaving the landscape wide open.
Members of the school staff and community created a beautification committee to gather ideas for improvement of the landscape.
“I had some ideas about what I’d like to do for science and outdoor classrooms, and Lisa [Wayne] had ideas about trees and things, so we just kind of got together and put together a committee,” science teacher Anne Smith said. “We have NRAO in on it, Forest Service, DNR, the Forestry Service, PCHS, our school. Lots of different people represented.”
Last year, Smith, Wayne and John Rossell of the Division of Forestry wrote a grant which supplied them with 110 trees for the first part of the project.
“Science class planted them in pots and we’ve been maintaining them over the summer,” Smith said. “Not all one-hundred-ten trees survived. We’ve got about a hundred. That’s a start.”
A portion of the trees were planted Saturday by Smith, Wayne, PCHS forestry teacher Scott Garber and Lions Club members John Wayne, Kay Wiley, Linda Stewart, Suzanne Stewart and Gary Phillips.
The committee gained assistance from former GBEMS student Justin Madron, an landscape architect, who created a landscape plan for the school.
In addition to the trees, the plan includes other phases.
“We have a project going on where we would like to put a picnic shelter up near the front of the school,” Smith said. “That’s from PTO. They’ve been earning money for that for several years now. We’d like that to be another phase. We got some money from our Natural Helpers last year to build an outdoor auditorium. The high school is going to help with that. The carpentry class is going to help make benches and a stage. It’s a huge community effort.”
As the landscape makes its slow transition, Smith hopes it will attract more volunteers to join the effort.
“It’s all really – in my mind as a teacher – to involve the kids with it,” she said. “They planted the trees. They’ve been maintaining the trees. I’d like to have the kids plant some trees during our school time and maybe when people start seeing planting, we’ll have another planting day. More people will come and be involved.”
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org