Student Carolyn Wassem welcomed all who attended, with the assistance of fellow student, Emmely Corralas Arango who lead the crowd in the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
The extraordinary, Sue Ostrofsky, Principal of Mount Kisco Elementary School (MKES)., told the fairy tale story leading up to “How the Garden Grew – The Story of the MKES Community Garden.”
Ellen Rouse Conrad, Co-President of Bedford 2020, spoke about “The Seed Money – How the Dream Became Reality.” The Bedford 2020 Coalition was the catalyst for the garden idea through the Green initiatives; MKES school officials got the idea after coming to the first Bedford Environmental summit in 2009, and they continue to provide ongoing support.
The school had a vacant, unused, fenced in tennis court on the grounds. After much internal discussion, the team members, Susan Ostrofsky, Principal, Nanci Colangelo, Elementary Consulting Teacher., Scott Whalen, Head Custodian, along with the School Librarian, Susan Polos, and various other teachers, decided that it would be a worthwhile project for the school community to convert the eyesore tennis court into a Community Garden. This is one of those rare school projects where all the players worked together for the greater good of the community.
The Bedford Garden Club gave a generous grant of $10,000 dollars as part of their Centennial Celebration that was instrumental in starting up the garden. Save-a-Tree provided services by removing the trees, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture donated soil, and Mimi Lines, noted local Landscape and Design Architect, designed the raised beds. Included in the list of participants were Bedford 2020 partners: New York Botanical Gardens, Rainbeau Ridge, Neighbors Link, Rippowam-Cisqua School, and the Bedford Central School District.
Several MKES Students., Grace Kiernan, Gianna Frusciante, and Jake Bazyk were excited to announce the businesses and organizations that received “Special Thanks.” All three students did a fantastic job as the audience erupted in applause and yelled, “Well Done!”
The entire student body of the Mount Kisco Elementary School (MKES) took part in singing “The Garden Song,” a version of the Hokey Pokey song and a dance classic! Each class sang their own stanza to celebrate this joyous occasion.
Sue Ostrofsky, Principal of MKES, assisted students, Kerwin Rodrigues Umana, Roan Guyder, Daniel Davis, Cayla Smith, Samantha Amado, Phillip Gerbino and Olivia Marino with the Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the MKES Community Garden Grand Opening June 14, 2011
The garden is a good idea in and of itself, even if it only focuses on the nutrition and obesity issues. However, it goes much further and fosters an appreciation of the earth, teaches plant cultivation techniques and provides hands-on lessons in the role of sustainable food. The garden will be used to teach students about sustainable agriculture, and the art of living well and responsibly within the limits of the natural world. Above all, this is a garden built to share with the community but also created to encourage active involvement among students, parents, and the greater Mount Kisco.
The MKES Community Garden will be tended throughout the summer by the Summer Academy and local families who have signed up to water, weed, and harvest the crops.
A few extraordinary companies and organizations were the first to help MKES make this dream becomes a reality for the school and the community. As we see the tremendous progress made so far, it is hoped that others will want to follow in their footsteps and provide further assistance going forward.
For further information about MKES Community Garden to make a donation or to get your hands in the dirt, please contact MKES.
MKES Community Garden Grand Opening Photo Gallery is being transferred to a new website.
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Finally my kids have a good excuse for getting dirty at school!
Fabulous example of what school gardens can do to develop community within schools. Your beautiful photos are enlightening and inspiring. Thank you for the insight and inspiration.