The City of Bristol Department of Public Works partnered with the Bristol Board of Education to bring the “Bristol Gardens – A Work of Heart” to three more schools in Bristol.

While students were on summer break, the Public Works Department built raised gardens at Greene Hills School, Stafford School, and Ivy Drive School. The students from kindergarten through 5th grade began planting their gardens with vegetable and herbs during the first week of school, which the students and faculty will manage. Students will have the opportunity to bring the garden items home to eat with their family in the fall and the gardens will be replanted with seasonal vegetables and flowers in the spring.

“We want all Bristol students to have the opportunity to get their hands dirty and grow their own food. Many students have gardens at home, which they can contribute their expertise about gardening during garden club. Some students don’t have a yard or may live in an apartment, so they do not have the opportunity to grow their own vegetables, until now!” – Public Works Analyst, Lindsey Rivers

The mission of “Bristol Gardens – A Work of Heart” is to encourage Bristol students to go outside and get their hands dirty by growing their very own garden each season. This will promote hands-on learning experiences that complement the school curriculum. 

“The joy and pride of a job well done was clear on the faces of all participants. With multiple entry points for learning and collaboration, these gardens will sustain our learners’ interests throughout the school year and beyond.” – Assistant Superintendent of Bristol Public School, Michael Dietter

Students from Greene-Hills K-8 School got their hands dirty and planted lettuce, herbs, and garlic in their garden on the second day of school. Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu; Principal Scott Gaudet, Sarah Larson, Parks & Recreation Department community outreach coordinator; Katie Hennesy, Parks & Recreation Department intern; Lindsey Rivers, public works analyst; and members of the City’s Public Works Department were also on hand to help the students plant the new garden.

At Stafford School, students planted herbs and fall vegetables in their garden which is part of a new outdoor learning classroom thanks to a dedicated group of community partners who volunteered their time and contributed resources over the summer to create this new outdoor space for learning. Thanks to the help of many organizations for making this happen.

Bristol Public Works built the raised garden beds and supplied soil, plants, a compost bin, watering hose, and rain barrel. Lowe’s Home Improvement stores awarded Stafford School a monetary grant which helped fund flexible outdoor seating, mindfulness tools, and garden supplies. Mizzy Construction donated materials and labor to pour the concrete pad of our outdoor learning classroom. ESPN volunteers came to Stafford School and painted sensory walk paths in two different areas of our playground.

“We are excited and eager to start using our outdoor learning classroom this year. We will also be starting a student gardening club where, with the support of Bristol Public Works department, we will be teaching children the benefits of gardening and composting, along with the delicious rewards when our vegetables and herbs mature!” – Stafford Elementary School Principal, Kristin Irvine

The Department of Public Works team partnered with 26 ESPN employee volunteers to transform two court yards at Ivy Drive School into gardens for students to create two gardens – a pollinating garden and a vegetable garden. While the pollinating garden was being designed, Milkweed was spotted growing in one of the flower beds and then transplanted into the pollinating garden. All ten eggs on the leaves hatched and the Department of Public Works will be documenting the evolution of a monarch butterfly with photos along with the students from the Ivy Drive School Garden Club who will be caring for the caterpillars until they change into butterflies.

“The Public Works Department worked tirelessly to provide our students with a beautiful space for ongoing outside learning opportunities. We are so appreciative of their efforts and look forward to watching our school community’s gardens flourish; supported by our ongoing partnership with them.”
– Ivy Drive Elementary School Principal, Emily Gomes

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