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Courtyard gets a makeover

N-Hawks-nest1-Mulching-day

 

N-Hawks-nest2Just in time for the start of school, the courtyard at Red Hawk Elementary received a facelift thanks to several local groups. Work crews wheel barrowed black mulch through the hallway to spread around the memorial garden initially established in May of 2006. The original mulch around the bushes and in the seating area had decomposed and was overtaken by an immense bed of weeds.

“The Cedar Springs Garden Club has been coming in the spring and fall for the last 3 years to help maintain the garden, but last year, members told me that the job was overwhelming unless we controlled the weeds,” explained Red Hawk secretary Mary Gardner. She asked Pastor Craig Owens, pastor at Calvary Assembly of God and director of the after-school En Gedi program housed at Red Hawk, if his students would be willing to help with the project. Last spring, En Gedi volunteers and students joined Gardner in pulling and digging out weeds until school ended in June.

N-Hawks-nest3On August 22 and 29, in cooperation with Cedar Springs Operations Director Jerry Gavin, children and adults from En Gedi, Calvary Assembly of God Church, Cedar Springs Garden Club and Red Hawk staff laid down plastic, spread 3 yards of mulch, pruned bushes and trees, and made plans to add more perennials.

The Memorial Garden was originally planned by Shaner Nursery and planted by the Cedar Springs Garden Club and the Boy Scouts. What was a grassy lawn in the west end of the Hawk’s Nest courtyard was transformed into a beautiful oasis of perennial flowers, bushes, and trees with benches for relaxing. It was created as a way of memorializing many students who had died in 2006.

Although the Cedar Springs utility workers cut the grass in the lawn, school funds were not available to keep the garden in order. That doesn’t mean the garden was completely forgotten. Several years ago, the Red Hawk PTO donated 2 picnic tables made by the High School shop class and last spring New Beginnings teacher Mrs. Niederer and her class painted the tables and did some maintenance yard work. When weather permitted, a Red Hawk staff member could be seen pruning or weeding at lunchtime.

Pastor Owens plans to use the courtyard for several after-school games and activities along with other Hawk’s Nest projects. A former shop teacher will work with the En Gedi students to make lightweight benches. By coordinating with the Garden Club, students will take an active role in keeping the flowerbeds in top shape by learning about the plants and how to care for them.

Red Hawk staff and students will also benefit from the renovated Hawk’s Nest when classrooms gather outside for silent reading, science projects (like cooking with solar ovens), and sketching nature during art class. Some staff members frequently eat lunch in the courtyard, absorbing the sun and quiet beauty.

 

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