CHESTERTOWN — “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” or so it goes in Dr. Seuss’ classic “The Lorax.” With the help of the community, students at H.H. Garnet Elementary School are proving they care about the environment “a whole awful lot.”
Students, sponsors for the project and community members gathered to celebrate Garnet Good Seeds Project’s launch Thursday morning, June 6.
“It’s just exciting to see what will happen. So again, thank you very much for helping and supporting our school system and showing up today. That means a lot to us,” Garnet Principal Brenda Rose told the crowd.
Through Good Seeds, Garnet will receive new landscaping around the building that incorporates an outdoor learning space, a rain garden, new gravel pathways, a pollinator garden, a mural and more.
The designs for the landscaping, created by Miles Barnard of South Fork Studio with input from teachers and students, utilizes native plants like switchgrass as well as edible plants like those that grow berries and herbs.
Good Seeds initially was proposed to the Kent County Board of Education at a Jan. 14 meeting where it was unanimously approved. It was then pitched to the Chestertown Mayor and Council and the Kent County Commissioners who also gave their support of the project.
The commissioners will fund trash and recycling containers at both ends of the Garnet property. They agreed to have county staff remove current plants from the front of the school.
The mayor and council of Chestertown are funding a new brick entryway at the front of the school. It will feature a compass rose set into the brick and new benches.
To celebrate the project, third- and fifth-graders presented poetry they had written in class. They also shared advice for protecting the environment like avoiding single-use plastics and Styrofoam. Students also performed a song in American Sign Language.
The ceremony ended with students burying a biodegradable box filled with wishes for the garden in the ground with a tree.
Also attending the launch were members of the Chestertown Garden Club, which pledged $5,000 of the Shirley Susen Fund to provide seeds. The club also will maintain the garden once it is established.
Chestertown Mayor Chris Cerino and Councilman Ellsworth Tolliver, whose Third Ward includes Garnet Elementary School, also attended the event.
From Kent County Public Schools, Superintendent Karen Couch, Supervisor of Finance Jane Towers as well as board members Nivek Johnson and Wendy Costa attended the launch.
“It’s just wonderful to have everybody here celebrating this exciting endeavor,” said Carolyne Grotsky, chairman of the Good Seeds project and vice president of the Chestertown Garden Club.
Sponsors for Good Seeds are: the Schumann Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Trust, Dixon Valve and Coupling Co., Unity Church Hill Nursery, Bartlett Tree Experts, Johnson’s Concrete, Hoyle Stone, Robbi Behr, Rob Glebe, ShoreRivers, Gillespie and Sons, Royal Farms, Tideland Gardens, Anthony’s Flowers, American Native Nursery, Chester River Wine and Cheese Co. as well as individual donors.
“We cannot thank you enough, just having read this list, you can see the participation from the community for this wonderful, wonderful community project that’s going to benefit the children in the community for years and years to come,” Grotsky said.