Although many people fear that Friday the 13th is a sign of bad tidings, for the Gardner Pilot Academy in Allston, Friday June 13th was a day to be proud of. Despite the copious rain, over two dozen volunteers from Boston Scientific showed up to help improve the schoolyard and gardens. The project was coordinated by Boston Cares, with support from local artist Ross Miller, and the Gardner science specialist Barbara Gates. Boston Cares is a volunteer mobilization and management organization that has supported projects at Boston Public Schools and many other locations across the greater Boston area. Ross Miller has done work throughout the city, including several public installations. Ross has also worked extensively with the Boston Schoolyard Initative, creating dynamic and engaging places for students to learn and play.
On this Friday, the Gardner project included assembling raised garden beds that will be integrated into the curriculum to teach about growing food, parts of a plant and plant life cycles, scientific observation and exploration, nature writing, and more. The beds were filled them with clean soil, pathways were laid in crushed gravel, and existing garden beds were mulched. All of these resources used for this project were leveraged for the school district. There was also seasonal preparation done to clean up the Gardners Outdoor Classroom.
The schools original Outdoor Classroom was put in by the Boston Schoolyard Initiative in 2006. It has remained in good shape over the years as a result of regular use by the school, and support from community partners on works days like this. Now, as a result of the support from all of these invested stakeholders, the Gardner’s 364 students, grades K-7, can learn and explore their new garden as part of their school curriculum.