Emerald GardensMs. Susan Simon
The Emerald Gardens at OCR are really sparkling with color thanks to Mrs. Diane Faria and the Girl Scouts who donated and planted gorgeous mums, daisies, and ornamental peppers in spectacular colors of purple, bronze, hot orange, and gold. What a wonderful way to welcome our staff and students back to the new school year with gardens full of beautiful flowers and sweet smelling herbs, and vegetables ready to harvest.
During the first few weeks of September and October our kindergarten and first grade students spotted several monarch butterflies,circling around our butterfly bushes, still overflowing with pretty flowers in shades of purple and raspberry. They were so excited to see the monarchs because they planted milkweed seedlings with Mrs. Chertoff , earlier in the spring, when her daughter Lori Chertoff , generously donated over one hundred seedlings to our gardens. Not only did our Emerald Gardens Eco Sphere attract monarchs, we were lucky to have a resident hummingbird, three different types of butterflies, and many beautiful birds including cardinals, chickadees, song sparrows, gold finches, warblers, and even killdeer.
During the spring months, several of our students and their parents noticed a nest in the middle of the soccer field with two killdeer birds guarding several eggs. They roped off the area to keep them safe.
This summer our vegetable garden was overflowing with three types of lettuce, fluffy parsley, tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, radishes,cucumbers, peppers, and several aromatic herbs including sage, peppermint,lavender, thyme, and basil. Several of our children and their families made some pretty great salads from our harvest. This is the joy of a community garden.
Our community garden continues to provide our school with a natural hands- on ecology learning center where our children can experience what it truly feels like to take care of our planet. They continuously learn about native plants, water conservation, photosynthesis, and sustainability.
The OCR Green Team consisting of Student Council members,Site Based representatives, and student Eco Volunteers take the initiative to read, research, and encourage our students to cultivate our gardens which keep our community beautiful, promote sustainability, and bring biodiversity to our OCR playgrounds. The nicest thing is to see our students smiling faces as they keep our planet healthy.