On May 2, in honor of the recent Earth Day, students and faculty donned their gloves and picked up their tools to clean up the grounds and gardens at Ross Lower School. Students in pre-nursery through sixth grades enjoyed the beautiful day in the sun with their schoolmates, buddies, furry friends on the farm, and of course, worms.
Lower School science teachers Michele Passarella and Bryan Smith organized the Earth-friendly event. Starting on the grounds next to the farm, students were assigned to sections of the gardens and park where they enthusiastically weeded, cleared, and turned the soil. “The classes all worked diligently and as teams. Some of the students seemed to gain an almost therapeutic effect simply from being outside, having their hands in the earth, and interacting with nature,” Michele said. For her part, Michele used hedge clippers as the designated dogwood, azalea, and rhododendron pruner.
“Third graders loved working with their Nursery buddies to help in the Early Childhood garden. They enjoyed the sunshine, teaching the little guys a skill, and making the campus more beautiful,” said Lower School teacher Meghan Hillen.
First and sixth grade buddies worked hard cleaning up the garden behind the Green Building. With minor distractions (the younger students often stopped to examine the worms or stomp on dirt piles), the buddies did a great job raking, digging, and edging to create a clean look.
“Most students had some previous experience working in gardens, and it was fun to see them share their knowledge while working toward a common goal,” Bryan said.
The students said they are looking forward to planting flowers in the newly turned earth. “Our activities underscored the unbridled joy that children derive from being outdoors and their affinity for exploring the natural world,” said Jeanette Tyndall, head of Ross Lower School. “All those dirt-covered hands and squeals of delight whenever an earthworm was uncovered made for, in the words of one young student, ‘the best day of my life!’ We are also extremely grateful to Lower School parent Austin Handler for donating 1,000 flower bulbs that we will enjoy planting over the next two weeks.”