One of the special programs at Cooper Elementary School is called The EARTH Project — and a garden on the south side of the school has been a centerpiece. Today is the last Earth Day that Cooper students and staffers will work in that garden, since the school “program” is being closed at the end of this year, with Pathfinder K-8 (which also has an “environmental focus”) moving in. AmeriCorps volunteers invited us to come share the occasion – that’s AmeriCorps’ Gina Barteletti at left with kindergarteners, planting kinnikinnick:
Assisting students in this next photo, Cooper parent Steve Ball with the group in the foreground, head teacher David Kipnis at right:
The kindergarteners got a quick briefing about how to plant before they donned gloves and went over to dig and plant. They also brought notes “thanking the plants” – they were instructed to tear up the notes and put them into the planting holes:
Hundreds of native plants, purchased by AmeriCorps with grant money, were to be placed in the garden before this round of planting ends. As the kindergarteners returned to their classrooms, they got to high-five a “fishy” visitor:
And then, the shovels were lined up and waiting for the next class, which was to take its turn right after lunch:
The Nature Consortium, which stewards and restores the West Duwamish Greenbelt – including the section that Cooper borders – also had representatives at today’s planting event. Another local school with an environmental emphasis, Gatewood Elementary, will be the new school for more than 100 Cooper students; Gatewood teacher Donna Rodenberg told us at last weekend’s Earth Festival at Cooper that they’re working on outreach to ease the transition, letting the incoming students know about Gatewood’s Project Earth Care.
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