McMinnville Montessori School Community Work Party to Launch Native Plant Project

October 22, 2013

With an outpouring of community enthusiasm and involvement the McMinnville Montessori School embarks on a year-long curriculum project that will result in a whole new, native landscape adorning their outdoor space.

The idea to replace the front landscaping of the Montessori School with all native landscaping started, appropriately, quite organically.  Maria Eustrom, the elementary school teacher at Montessori, has always been interested in native landscaping and had been wanting to replace some of the plantings in the front of the school with natives, but was always expecting that it would have to be a gradual process.  This fall when Winsome Construction offered to sponsor a grounds rejuvenation project and asked Maria to line out all of the things that she felt needed to be taken care of on the school grounds, Maria saw a golden opportunity.  “I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to teach our students firsthand about native landscaping by designing a native landscape for our own school.” After hearing of Maria’s vision for the grounds, Winsome introduced her to Rob Tracey and the Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund and the vision blossomed into a real plan.

The Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund has awarded the McMinnville Montessori School a scholarship to fund the Montessori native landscaping project.  The project will include classroom learning about native plants guided by Maria and Rob Tracey, board member of the Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund who is generously volunteering his time for the project, a design created by the students, clearing non-native vegetation, choosing, purchasing and planting native plants and follow up care of the native plants until they are well established.  “The kids are already super excited about the project.  We have started with classroom lessons and have begun solarization of the soil using black plastic to kill the weed seeds.  The kids are really taking to the project already.”

The first big step was taken on Saturday, September 28th from 9 to 2 pm when a Winsome crew along with Montessori School volunteers took out a line of Lauryl trees which will be replaced with native red currant bushes in the Spring, replaced an existing Maple with a Native White Oak, donated by Rob Tracey, and prepared the soil with a layer of newspapers and 50/50, donated by Recology, in preparation for Spring planting.  Other projects undertaken at the work party were play equipment repairs and painting, pressure washing, bird blocking, siding repairs and various smaller grounds maintenance projects.  The day was sponsored by other community members including Parr Lumber, Recology, Sherwin Williams, Harvest Fresh, Domino’s, Albertsons and Acme Print Shop.  “The Community has been so generous in offering donations when we explain what we are doing,” says Wendy Stassens, partner of Winsome Construction, “We really are grateful to everyone who has supported this event to launch this special project.  Extra special thanks needs to be offered to Rob Tracey and the Yamhill Watershed Stewardship Fund, who have really been integral to allowing this project to take shape and move forward. We are looking forward to seeing what the children create!”

About McMinnville Montessori School

McMinnville Montessori School was started in the fall of 1983 with a primary program. In 1997 a much needed Elementary program was added.  The school serves children ages 3 through 12 years, with Montessori primary classrooms focusing on the needs of 3 to 6 year olds, and the Montessori elementary program serving ages 6 through 9, and 9 through 12.

We strongly encourage anyone who is interested to call the school and make an appointment to come and observe our classrooms in action. It’s truly amazing to see what children can do if they are given the guidance and opportunity to explore and learn about the world around them.

This is a Winsome Press Release. Read the entire article in the News Register “Learning and Growing: New native plant garden project opens up world of discovery for McMinnville Montessori students” – October 22, 2013

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