VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A new self-sustainable garden outfits the Arrowhead Elementary School courtyard. Its purpose is to bring the classroom outdoors.
The idea bloomed after a teacher laid out a plan to combine education with nature.
“We want to make it a learning space for students where they can explore, touch nature and make things more relevant to them,” said Lisa Riley, Arrowhead Elementary School principal.
The seed was planted. Arrowhead Elementary School’s next step was asking the community for help.
“We have a very strong, tight-knit community who want to help. All we had to do is make a couple of phone calls and reach out,” Riley said.
Everything in the garden was donated by the community.
Many also helped put it together.
“Getting out in the community. It’s really nice and relaxing and a change of pace,” said Tiffany Sabattis, Virginia Beach Sherriff’s Deputy. “You get to interact with the kids and just be a kid yourself.”
When you dig deeper into the soil, you’ll see the garden is self-sustaining, meaning it’ll grow without a lot of attention.
“We didn’t want to go through all this work and the summer come and everything is not taken care of. We wanted to make sure it was able to be maintained,” Riley said.
Inside the dirt, vegetable and herbs are planted, for use in the cafeteria. As well as other beautiful flowers, like ones that attract butterflies.
There is also a compost bin to help enrich the soil and keep food out of landfill.
Most importantly, a little pond for their yearly visitor. “We have a duck that flies in every year that visits, so we have a pond here, so she has some water,” Riley said.
All the items in the courtyard fit into the school’s curriculum and provide a calming space for students and staff.
“It just feels good. We’ve been through a lot this year. Everyone has been through a lot and it just feels good to see this community coming together,” Riley said.