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Heritage Elementary School fifth-graders show designs that they have created for the Community Rock Garden, an addition to the Heritage Outdoor Classroom. Students can paint any design or message. CONTRIBUTED

Community Rock Garden at Heritage adds beauty, civic pride

MADISON – The Outdoor Classroom at Heritage Elementary School, already a source of pride, has an addition that allows students to exercise their imagination.

The Heritage Community Rock Garden expands the beauty and sense of community to the Outdoor Classroom, according to Dr. Georgina Nelson, Principal at Heritage. “Heritage is so fortunate to have this wonderful outdoor classroom, a gift from the hearts of our entire Heritage community,” Nelson said.

“So many teachers, students, staff and parents have put so much work and effort into making the garden an outstanding space,” Nelson said. “Our students not only have the wonderful opportunity to observe plants and animals in their natural habitats, but they also have hands-on experience with building and maintaining this space.”

The River of Hope at Dublin Park motivated the Outdoor Classroom Planning Committee at Heritage to add a rock garden. “Our first batch of rocks was actually donated from the Dublin Park project,” gifted specialist Rachel Gibbs said. “We wanted to do something similar to bring together our Heritage families and spread kindness and happiness through our school and community.”

“It is our hope that every student, whether current or alumni, their families and even our community at-large will participate in designing a rock to be placed in the Community Rock Garden,” Nelson said. “Together, we will make it beautiful, just like our Heritage community.”

Applying their creativity, all contributors can contribute to a special component of Heritage that hopefully will inspire students for years to come, Gibbs said.

The rocks have diverse messages and graphics, ranging from fun characters like Cookie Monster and Groot, to favorite toys like a Nintendo Game Boy, along with inspirational phrases like, “Choose joy!”

The Heritage Outdoor Classroom Committee members have worked alongside students and parent volunteers to build the outdoor classroom ‘from the ground up.’ Committee members are Nelson, Gibbs, Amber Merrill, Emily Boshers, Tracy Boyajian, Heather Kell, Joelle Jones, Jaime Mathison, Jennifer Tow, and Melva Tignor. Gibbs, Boyajian and Merrill have led development of the rock garden.

No deadline applies for adding new rocks. “We are going to continue to grow the garden throughout the school year,” Gibbs said.

For more information, visit Facebook/Heritage Elementary School or click https://drive.google.com/file/d/1VHSpFr6IvObt9LLMntgDYAo6TkuhOMmP/view.

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