Sunday, February 23, 2014

Restoration of Large and Small Courtyards

Did you realize that CHES has two courtyards enclosed within the building?  The courtyards provide daylight and views to the classrooms, but needed a bit of cleaning up and were therefore not being used.  Over the past two years, PTA volunteers have worked tirelessly to better the courtyards, and the ultimate vision is to make them beautiful and educational spaces. 

Small courtyard fish pond - before
Small courtyard fish pond - after

In the small courtyard, Denise Dunn has led the efforts to clean out the fish pond that was choked with weeds, restore the weather station complete with benches for outdoor classes to use, and build raised beds for a sensory garden.

In the large courtyard, Natalie Perry is leading the efforts to clear weeds, clearing a space for families to enjoy lunch with students outdoors, and create a demonstration garden with native Jamestown plantings, making a connection to the Social Studies curriculum.  Boats were donated by Woodlake to be used as planters, and other courtyard materials were donated from Lowes, Wal-Mart, Luck Stone, and Woodlake Environmental Committee. PTA and Boyscout volunteers worked together in November to spread soil and mulch, and when Spring comes, the planting can begin!
The courtyards are still a work in progress, and will require many more volunteer hours.  A grant was procured from Project Learning Tree that will be a great help!  If you're interested in donating time or materials, contact us at

Terracycling is back at CHES!

The Environmental Cabinet wanted to help with recycling at our school. Upon much discussion about how much is "thrown away" at CHES daily, we found how much of it is really recyclable. Last year, we were recycling juice pouches and chip bags. The students remember being able to recycle these items, and wanted to bring it back. We made signs to show how to recycle, why we should recycle and what we will recycle. These signs were then put up all around our school.

  Mrs. Lisa Dean, a parent volunteer, will be in charge of emptying our bins and shipping the materials off to Terracycle, where they are "upcycled" into all kinds of products that can be purchased.  Check them out at

CHES Environmental Cabinet - Back for 2013-2014!

Our student Environmental Cabinet is back to work for this school year, with 12 student volunteers from 4th and 5th grades led by teacher sponsor Lynn Johnson.  At their cabinet kickoff meeting, each student shared why they wanted to be a part of this group.  All of these students have a passion for helping our Earth by recycling, cleaning up trash, conserving resources, and generally doing our part to keep our planet clean and safe!  Look for signs of their work throughout the school, and through posts on this blog.

Thank you very much to Mrs. Nagel and Mrs. Marable who worked on the Environmental Cabinet in previous years.  We will try to carry on the good work you have done!