Merriwether Elementary School will have a workday Saturday to create its outdoor classroom and garden, and the community is invited to help.
The area is near the center of the school’s campus and is surrounded by classrooms on three sides and leads out to the playground, said Patty Gibbs, assistant principal.
“We already have an existing butterfly garden so we plan to put some new things in our butterfly garden. We are also designing walkways and creating raised beds where students can plant different things. Some classes may decide to plant flowers, others may plant herbs or vegetables,” she said. “We plan to plant some items that students can actually use and we can use in our cafeteria.”
The outdoor classroom and garden will also include tables and benches to create an area where teachers can bring classes outside to do projects – or just to have class when the weather is nice, Gibbs said.
Will Dalzell, a Merriwether Elementary parent, designed the garden and has donated plants and trees from his business, Dalzell Design Landscaping, that will be planted in and around the outdoor classroom and garden, Gibbs said.
Some of the work on the area has already begun, but they are hoping to get the major structural work complete during Saturday’s workday. Volunteers will help layout walkways and fill them with gravel, build at least one raised garden bed, plant plants in the butterfly garden and layout pine straw.
Additional workdays may be held next school year, depending on what is accomplished Saturday, Gibbs said.
The outdoor classroom and garden is expected to be ready for use in the fall.
The school has also purchased compost bins through a grant and has begun saving scraps from the cafeteria to create their own compost that will be used in the garden.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the workday must call the school by Thursday at (803) 279-9993.
People may also donate water and snacks for the volunteers or donate pine straw, potting soil, plants or lumber for the outdoor classroom and garden. Monetary donations are also being accepted. Those wishing to donate items should contact Gibbs.
The project is being led by the school’s Eco-Success committee, which consists of teachers who work on helping the school be environmentally friendly and teaching pupils about the environment.