of Norwayne Habitat Discovery Garden grand finale to project.
Garden dedication presents possibilities for community, students.
By CHRISTINE L. PRATT Staff Writer Published: May 25, 2012 4:00AM
-- The grand finale to a three-year project, Sunday's dedication of
the Norwayne Elementary Habitat Discovery Garden also was a representation
of the world of possibilities for the community and students to come.
The outdoor classroom
and community garden, although already in use, is officially open
for business, according to project chairman and "visionary"
While many others
contributed time, talents and funding, it was Sheppard who supplied
the dream on which the garden was built, according to Superintendent
Larry Acker, who praised her and all those who made it possible. The
culmination is "reflective of this wonderful Norwayne community,"
the project is a testament to the "quality of the people in the
community and the things they can attain when they take the bull by
the horns," said Norwayne Elementary Principal Andy Froelich,
pointing also to the stadium and district-wide building projects.
truly a community project," but one that would not have been
completed were it not for Sheppard. "She planted a seed and nurtured
it timelessly. When Trena sets her mind to something, with a smile
on her face and indomitable will, it gets done."
With the work
done, Sheppard said, the time has come to "spread the word"
about the garden, which, although located at the school "is for
the community as well."
"It is a
natural playground," said Sheppard, who was inspired by a Division
of Wildlife magazine article and saw within her community the potential
for an alternative learning opportunity.
getting back in touch with nature, hands-on exploring, teamwork and
thinking outside the box. Not every student is book smart, but they
could be hands-on smart. I think this applies with adults as well.
So three years ago, it was a possibility. Today, it's ready to be
used by Norwayne Elementary and the community," she said.
Already the garden
has been employed by staff and students at the school, according to
several students who spoke at the program.
wandered into it during art, science and language arts class. They've
used it as inspiration for poetry, they've studied and drawn the parts
of flowers, they've explored the natural habitats of the many species
that have started to find homes in the garden.
Within the Habitat
Discovery Garden, there are many smaller gardens, said Sheppard. They
are the Charlotte's Web literacy garden, a sensory garden, a geo-rock
garden, a Secret Garden, a water garden, a butterfly garden, a human
sundial, a mini-meadow, a composting area and a Peter Rabbit garden.
Within the Secret
Garden, built on the theme of the book with the same name, there are
plants that, once matured, will grow to create a niche area in which
someone can hide away to enjoy a book in private, said Sheppard, who
said the water garden now is a favorite for students.
she was honored by certification of the garden as a "WILD OHIO"
school site. On hand to present the recognition, along with designation
signs, was Jamey Graham of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Division of Wildlife. WILD
OHIO school sites, she said, are about building and using outdoor
learning areas to better educate students about the world that surrounds
them, she said, noting the simple presence of fresh air while reading
a book "wakes you up," and it's an experience that can be
a part of the curriculum without taking a field trip.
Romich, who donated the solar panels that were installed on the roof
of the pavilion said he is pleased to have been part of the project
which is "a reminder of the community we live in."
Energy from the
solar panels offsets that which is used to operate the waterfalls
in the water garden, 24/7, April-October, said Romich, noting without
solar energy a ton of coal a year would be expended to do the same
concerned about the environmental impact," he said, adding the
waterfalls "is one of the most beautiful features."
Within the garden,
he said, "we're starting to see tadpoles and frog eggs. There's
a swallowtail butterfly laying eggs. This is going to be a fantastic
Elementary School fifth-grade students Abbie Spring
(left) and Elise Bonezzi enjoy their favorite part
of the school's new garden, the waterfalls. The
two were invited to sing the national anthem to
kick off the dedication of the Habitat Discovery
Garden on Sunday.