Students at P.S. 53K unveiled their new bench for the Butterfly Garden on 7th Avenue and 18th Street on Friday. The students are part of the woodworking enrichment cluster, which meets on Fridays, and includes students from four different classes and many of the students have special needs.
Teacher Jeff Laraia leads the woodworking cluster and says he was excited to connect the students to a project in the neighborhood. “The students had an opportunity to do something new — to use their math skills, connect with nature, and learn about community responsibility,” says Jeff.
The bench took about a month for the students to build. They put it together in pieces and then brought it over to the garden. They enlisted the help of the school’s garden club to plant flowers in the planters on the sides of the bench and the art teacher painted it.
Teacher Chris McKeon leads the school’s garden club. He says being able to use the space in the public garden, which is just a block away from the school, has been a great opportunity for the students.
Michael, a student at PS53K who is a member of the garden club, says he’s really enjoyed learning about how to grow plants and being able to visit the garden. “I like sweet basil the best because it was easy to grow and I like the way it tastes and smells.”
Nancy Dennigan, who helps run the HomeGrown Parks Volunteers and lives in the neighborhood, helped clean up the park and make it more attractive for the community. Nancy and the volunteers reached out to P.S. 10, M.S. 88, and P.S.53K and offered the space for students to use.
The organization is hoping to make the park more ADA friendly. They plan on renovating the park to add ramps and bring the fencing down so that neighbors and students can better enjoy the space.
Check out the students’ bench in the garden on 7th Avenue and 18th Street and if you’d like to help with the garden, the HomeGrown Parks Volunteers meets at 10am on Saturdays to garden.