As the saying goes, plan the work and work the plan. First graders at Hickerson Elementary put their plans into action last week with a landscape project to revamp the Hawk’s Nest, an outdoor study area behind the school, with the help of Premier Lawn Care, a local landscape company.
Earlier last month, the classes took a guided tour of a nursery to learn about which plants would work best in the area.
“They’ve really done their research on what plants would survive here and what plants wouldn’t,” said Hickerson teacher Kayla Kanjanabout.
The work started last week when the student went outside for a firsthand look at the spot.
For the students, the time was a study in collaborative learning. The classes, first in small groups then in a whole discussion, came to the right solutions through collaboration with their classmates, while Tuner and the teachers keeping them focused and on the right track.
In the weeks following the classes’ field trip to Randall Walker Farms, the students worked out the initial plan of the garden with the help of Premier Lawn Care’s Brian Turner. He and Premier Lawn Care have worked extensively in advising, connecting donations for the project and providing labor for the jobs like grinding up stumps and spreading gravel.
Students headed up the design process. They paired up into groups to brainstorm what changes were needed and collaborated with Turner, who guided their plans toward a workable blueprint drawn up by the students.
“We’ve done our homework and now it’s time to take our knowledge and put it into a game plan and then we can act on the game plan,” Turner said.
The Hawk’s Nest is a roughly quarter-acre area that sits beyond the walking track and playground, nestled in a shady wooded area on the edge of campus. It has pathway that flanks a pavilion, leading deeper to a small open-air theater with wooden stage made from decking. Beyond that is the main flower garden. The path that connects all the elements will be graveled with pea gravel and H.L. Johnson Mulch Company donated mulch for the landscaping.
Home Depot donated paint for students to stencil designs on repurposed cinder blocks for a flowerbed, and student’s handprints will decorate the stage.
“This project is usually done by older groups,” Turner said. “The fifth grade would do it and then move on. With the first grade, they get to be here and see the transition – see the classes behind them really take in what they’ve done.”
Kanjanabout said that Premier Lawn Care was instrumental in securing donations and providing complimentary labor for the project as well as working directly with the students on the project.