This past summer, Atwood Primary School was chosen to receive a $5000 project grant from Poland Spring. The school was selected out of over 200 submissions for their plan to create a reading garden, and the grant came with a very specific challenge.
“In order to receive the grant, we needed to complete our project in one day,” said Principal Jen McGee, “and we did! “
It was a long day, working in constantly changing Maine weather from heat to sleet. They had to finish the project by the light of the moon, but the result was a welcoming, outdoor creative space where students can go to read.
The area surrounding the Atwood Reading Garden shed now includes high bush blueberries, tulips, irises, stone flowers, hydrangea bushes, and a blossoming magnolia tree. All these and additional flowering plants will ensure that the reading garden is full of beautiful blooms spring through fall. Beautifully painted birdhouses also adorn the space. “We hope the garden will entice children to enter and sit, read, imagine, and create, surrounded by the sounds and sights of nature,” said McGee.
The work for the garden was done by Earl Holt and his crew from Sidney based Holt’s Yard Improvements. Poland Spring sent their truck with sparkling bottled water and a full water tank so that students were able to enjoy fresh water from the taps all day.
“Our goal continues to be to connect children to the earth,” said Principal McGee. “If we get them outside and teach them about nature, they will continue to care about nature and become stewards of the earth.”