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Students learn volunteerism while beautifying their schools

June 16, 2008

[LIBERTY] – Over 350 SullivanCounty students are finishing up beautification projects while participating in programs to learn about volunteerism.  Sullivan Renaissance “Spruce Up your School Program” funded 21 projects in 14 different schools this year. 


School projects range in size from container gardens at LibertyElementary School to memorial gardens at SullivanWestHigh School.  The RJKMiddle School in Monticello continued work on its VictoryGarden and installed a model windmill to teach about alternative energy. 




Here’s how one project developed.  At Sullivan County BOCES, students from the CORE Program, along with instructors Craig Smith and Jane Donahue, worked to improve the campus by revitalizing a dilapidated garden outside of their classroom.


As students set out to reclaim the garden and remove an eye sore on their campus, they did more than they had originally expected.  The students restored an old wheelbarrow that had been discarded as trash and then used it to remove debris from their garden.


While cleaning up the site, students discovered an old table saw that also had been discarded.  They recycled the saw – raising $42 dollars for the scrap metal.  After completing their project the classes used this “extra” funding for an ice cream party to celebrate their hard work and beautification efforts.  The recycling didn’t stop there: while rebuilding and adding on to the “new” garden, students used newspapers instead of commercial landscape fabric under their mulch to protect the garden from weeds.


“Everyone is talking about it and the kids are really proud of their work,” said Craig Smith, who supervised and assisted on the project.


The students are so pleased with their work that they have decided to apply for a grant next year to expand and enhance the garden.


With the help of the BOCES Natural Resources Program, the students also planted a tree they received from the Sullivan Renaissance program as part of their Arbor Day celebration.  On June 13th the tree and a bluebird house were dedicated to John Doty, a BOCES employee who passed away earlier this year.




Schools participating in the 2008 Spruce up Your School Program include:


Club Rec. at Rutherford       Container          Teach planting, gardening

Duggan School                   Theme              Wildlife garden and shade trees

Emma Chase School          Entrance/Sign   Landscape sign and flagpole

Emma Chase School          Theme              Butterfly garden

Emma Chase School          Container          Container garden project

Emma Chase School          Container          Container garden project

Emma Chase School          Container          Container garden project

Emma Chase School          Container          Container garden project

Fallsburg High School        Entrance/Sign    Gardens, rock wall & benches

George L. Cooke               Entrance/Sign    Bench, planter to promote wildlife

Liberty Elementary             Container          Containers at school entrance

Liberty Elementary             Container          Containers at school entrance

Liberty High School           Entrance            Landscape entrance, plant trees

Monticello High School      Theme               Outdoor classroom

RJK Middle School            Theme               Landscape mosaic on Catskills

RJK Middle School            Theme               VictoryGarden with windmill

Roscoe Central School       Entrance/Sign    Landscaping for two signs

White Sulphur Springs        Entrance/Sign    Garden enhancement

SC BOCES                       Theme               Revitalize school garden

Sullivan West High             Theme               Enhance memorial garden

Schools Out at Tri-Valley    Container           Community project


Sullivan Renaissance is a beautification and community development program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.  Additional funding has been secured by NYS Senator John J. Bonacic and Assemblywoman Aileen M. Gunther.  Sponsorships have also been provided by WSUL/WVOS for Category A projects and by Thunder 102 for Category B projects.


For information call 845-295-2445 or visit the website at


Photos of the School Projects are Available Electronically