Thanks to a grant from Lowe’s, Royal Palm Beach Elementary School was able to clean up and refresh its outdoor landscaping recently.
On Saturday, April 11, approximately 150 volunteers worked to transform the school grounds into a beautiful entranceway for learning. Students, parents, faculty, staff members, local high school students and community members assisted with the project, which has also increased parent participation.
After 12 years, the school’s pressure cleaner was broken and there was no way to repair it. Outdoor seating was moldy. Water sprinklers were broken. Many plants and bushes needed to be replaced, and the campus desperately needed attention.
The clean-up day included picking up trash, pruning trees and bushes, and clearing away dead landscaping. More than 200 new plants were planted. Mulch was installed in plant beds and the school parking lot. Volunteers pressure cleaned the school marquee by the road, painted it and planted beautiful flowers. Two pallets of paver stones were installed around all the trees, making it a more defined area and protecting the newly installed plants.
Meanwhile, the school’s butterfly garden was replenished with milkweed to attract monarch butterflies, and two bird stations with bird feeders and bird baths were installed on both sides of the school entrance for different grades to observe and enjoy. Some pressure cleaning was done, and the sidewalks will now be maintained.
Students were so excited about the new outside area that they are making sure it stays clean. Some lessons they have learned include the life cycle of the butterfly.
Several classes were invited to hear a conservationist speak about the plight of the monarch butterfly. Students also got the chance to see a caterpillar change into a chrysalis. Once a week, students venture into the butterfly garden to water it and look for caterpillars and eggs. Some teachers cut off leaves of the milkweed that held eggs to keep in their classrooms for students to observe more closely.
Classes have taken walks to observe birds and their nests as part of their animal life cycle studies. Students fill the bird feeders and clean and replenish the bird baths. Kindergarten through second grade students even made bird feeders out of pine cones coated with peanut butter and bird seed.
Teachers set up a small weather station with a rain gauge, barometer and pinwheels while learning about weather in science. Some classes did energy experiments outside. On Earth Day, lessons were taught about how important it is to take care the planet. Students cleaned up the back of the school.
Over the summer, academic math games will be painted in the school yard, and the grounds behind the school will be pressure cleaned.
In August, there will be another clean-up day to prepare for the new year. It will be an ongoing project as everyone is learning to respect and care for the school grounds.
ABOVE: Alex Potter and Kirk Chaplin help in the beautification project.