Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thursday and Friday

I've been putting off posting because a lot of fun stuff has been happening and I wanted to give it the blog attention it deserves. But the more time that passes, the more likely I am to forget to write about it at all.

Thursday Lib came from Charlotte to spend the day with me -- an awesome birthday present! I had the best time hanging out with her with no particular schedule. Every time we're together I remember how much I wish we lived in the same town. Besides having great catch-up time at my house (and devouring gourmet candy from Matt) we visited Amanda at work, had lunch with Matt and got pedicures. So relaxing, so refreshing, so much fun. Lib, thank you for making the trip! I love you!

Friday morning was the annual United Way Day of Caring. Every year we kick off the fundraising campaign by having community volunteers work at the agencies United Way supports. This year was my favorite one yet, by far. I was assigned to work with Communities in Schools at Aberdeen Elementary School, where CIS has a thriving garden project and is establishing a fitness trail with 12 different activity stations.

The garden project is awesome. All of the students spend two 40-minute periods maintaining it every week. They grow vegetables, herbs and flowers (which they sell, with the money going back into the garden), have a compost pile, weed and keep the grass cut, collect and recycle water, etc. Not to mention, the teaching possibilities are endless. By all accounts, students, teachers and parents think the garden is a great project.

Since I have no kind of green thumb, I worked on the fitness trail, which circled behind the school and around the soccer/baseball field. For most of the morning we shoveled mulch into wheelbarrows and spread it around the activity stations. It was pleasantly mindless work but it took about eight of us four hours to finish. (Click here to see pictures.) After that was done we smoothed out some bumpy parts of the trail.

The CIS director who had the vision for the fitness trail and wrote the initial grant for it tried to describe for us the condition of that area before they started working on it. The kudzu had taken over so completely that when it was being cleared out, a set of long-forgotten bleachers and tennis courts were discovered (remnants from when the building was a high school, probably 30 years ago).

The tennis courts were in bad shape but it would have cost $30,000 to refinish the surface or $27,000 to tear them down, so the CIS group has recruited local artists to come in and help the students paint the surface. Also, a couple of the stations (such as a four-square court) are on the courts. As we were wrapping up, several classrooms came out to use the trail (thanks to another grant, they all have pedometers) and it made me so happy to see such good use made of a former wasteland.

All of this, naturally, reminded me of the nature trail Dad developed at Farm Life. I think he wrote the grant to establish it in the late '70s or early '80s, and all of his classes after that helped him maintain it. Ah, the nature trail ... so many good memories.

1 comment:

Ken Loyd said...

The projects at Aberdeen sound tremendous, from the garden to the four-square. I expect to be working on the good ol' Nature Trail very soon!