Douglas Park Community School students will have greener thumbs thanks to the Langley Rotary Club.
The club oversaw the installation of new cold frames that protect plants from extreme weather.
Teacher Lorraine Goulet had wanted to spruce up the school’s courtyard garden which also houses the First Nations Living Library.
“It has plants that are important to our local Indigenous peoples as well as other types of plants and flowers,” Goulet explained. “We grow many things in this school courtyard garden such as strawberries, potatoes (Spuds in Tubs), and beans, corn and squash [also known as a Three Sister’s Plot].”
The garden allows students to learn about food, nutrition and nature at a time when many people have lost the connection to agriculture.
“It is a wonderful opportunity for our students, many of whom live in apartments, to have hands on time in a garden,” Goulet noted. “It is a great way to learn about plant life cycles, insects, soil, composting, worms and pollination and many more topics.”
The Rotary club heard about the outdoor classroom from Langley School District Foundation executive director Susan Cairns.
“Our club thought it was an awesome opportunity to support the school especially during a pandemic,” said club member John Campbell. “We have had a historical connection with this school and have hosted Christmas with Santa for many years and more recently, are providing financial support for three sound field systems.”
Griff Building Supplies’ Matt Latham arranged for the donation of treated cedar and Plexiglas, and the club had the cold frames built. There’s six, including one elevated to allow for people in wheelchairs to also garden in the courtyard.
The cold frames were recently installed, just in time for students at the year-round school to get growing.
“These wonderful cold frames will allow us to extend our growing season well into the fall, and we will also be able to start our own plants and flowers in them. Thanks to these cold frames, we are able to have cohorts create themed gardens such as Butterly Pollinator, Salsa or Salad because we have so much more planting area,” Goulet said. “We are also able to transform a shady plot into a Fairy Garden that children can play in.”
The courtyard garden also provides important activities for students whose activities are limited by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The children feel very empowered and proud when they are able to care for plants and see the ‘fruits of their labour’,” she said. “Furthermore, outdoor classrooms are a healthy environment during this pandemic, so these cold frames couldn’t have come at a better time.”
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