POTSDAM - Last week members of the Clarkson Golden Knights mens hockey team lent a helping hand at Lawrence Avenue Elementary School to prepare the courtyard for spring planting.
All the fourth-grade students have taken part in this as an Earth Day project, according to Joanne L. McCormick, a fourth-grade teacher at the school who oversees the buildings gardens. The kids are having a ball.
While the students would have spent time in the courtyard last week without the hockey players, their presence was an added bonus for thechildren.
We received an email from their coach, Casey Jones, Ms. McCormick said. It was just to ask us if there were any sort of projects they could work on with us. So it worked out good for us and for them.
Students working outdoors typically enjoy themselves, but Ms. McCormick said having the hockey players help made this years project extra special.
The kids have really enjoyed working with the players, she said. A lot of the kids follow Clarkson hockey. We had a little girl on Tuesday who could name the entire line-up. The guys were impressed.
One of the players participating in the project was Sam Labrecque, a sophomore defenseman from Montreal.
He explained that each of the players were given their own team of students to work with for the afternoon.
I started with five kids and ended up with 20, he said. They just kept coming.
Mr. Labrecque said he didnt mind.
Its really a great project, he said. I enjoyed working with the kids and seeing them out here having fun.
Ms. McCormick, who co-teaches with Angelique Santimaw, said that while the fourth grade takes the lead with the garden project it is open to all grade levels.
Students from the Emily McCabes, Brenda Martins and Rena Carusos, and Judy Butler-Daggetts fourth-grade classes all participated in cleaning up the courtyard and preparing the planting beds.
Its not just my class, Ms. McCormick said. All of our kids have done this project along with the Clarkson kids. Its a community service project for them and an Earth Day project for us.
While the courtyard houses several garden areas, Ms. McCormick said thats not all that it is used for.
Some classes come here for relaxation and reading, some use it for game play, some use it just to enjoy the outdoors and some use it for a learning experience, she said.
Ms. McCormick explained that her students are currently reading Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
We work in the courtyard and use that to correlate experiences detailed in the book, she said.
Ms. McCormick, who also teaches summer school, said thats one of the main reasons she takes the lead on the garden project.
Im here all summer, so we continue with garden project then, she said, adding when students return to school there are often plants ready to be harvested.
We do a lot with the garden and then in the fall we harvest it, she said. Well eat some of the vegetables in our classroom, and we have kids take them home too.
Students have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, lima beans, squash, carrots, radishes and flowers in the past.
We have chives growing already, she noted.
Ms. McCormick said the garden project is open to the entire school, with classes often adopting different beds or buckets to take care of.
Some years we have a lot of participation and some years not so much, she said.