Terracare Associates was awarded the 2017 Community Stewardship Award by the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado for its collaboration with Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment to build outdoor educational spaces.
“One of our core values as a company is to give back to the communities in which we operate. This is the seventh learning garden we have built and our first garden in Colorado. It has been a great partnership working with the Montclair staff, children and parent volunteers,” says Cristin Tarr, marketing director at Terracare Associates.
TCA began the process of installing a learning garden at the school in early spring of 2016. The six month project included excavation of the garden area, installation of a footpath and planters, and establishment of an extensive irrigation system. In the process of building the garden, TCA contributed more than 300 hours of volunteer labor and thousands of dollars worth of donated time, talent, materials and equipment. The garden features 32 raised planting beds, providing each classroom with its own space to garden. The western edge of the garden has been set aside to grow pumpkins, squash, melons and gourds for use in all classrooms. Beans, peas, grapes and other vine plants are grown on the surrounding fence.
The goal of this project is to provide students with hands-on learning experiences that align with grade level standards while also teaching them new skills and responsibility. The students in each classroom are responsible for making decisions about what to plant and maintaining their sections of the garden throughout the growing season. Montclair took an extra step to keep students engaged and the garden well-maintained by creating a school club called “The Green Paws”. The organization consists of students of all ages and a committee of teachers and parents who participate in activities that support sustainability and the upkeep of the learning garden.
“Terracare Associates made our dreams of creating an outdoor classroom garden space a reality. The professional support from their design team, community outreach, and labor was above and beyond our hopes for the project. We have been able to tie in lessons from the classroom to the gardens for each of our grade levels which impacts each of our 400 students,” said Heather Manone, enrichment coordinator for Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment.