The Magic Garden

Founded 2008

Sarah Creswell was a new kindergarten-first grade teacher at Atkinson when she received a Nature in the Neighborhood grant from Metro Regional Governments. Her dream was a flower garden, one that would inspire children with the magic of growing things. And it would be right at the sunny front of the school. But Sarah passed away before the garden could be realized. It wasn’t long before we realized that this garden would be a fitting tribute to her. It was a project that the kids could be involved in, and now we have an attractive front to the school.

People come and think, “Isn’t this a wonderful place to be!”

Julie Montagne – project lead

Organizers Julie Montagne and Kirsten Croak were proactive, meeting with a school district representative to make sure their proposal could work. Kirsten and her husband Brian designed and helped manage the installation of the garden, which was planted in one day by classes from each grade level.

The flowers were chosen with bees and pollinators in mind — and school curriculum! First and second graders can study the mason bee box as part of their insect curriculum, and third graders grew hollyhocks and forget-me-nots from seed as part of their “Growing Things” science curriculum.

Teachers have lunch out there. Parents are out there waiting before and after school. Even on yucky days, people are out there. Classes use it. Gardens are places where people can talk to each other.

Kirsten Croak – project lead

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