BATAVIA – H.C. Storm Elementary School fourth-grader Audrey O’Connell said she was glad she wore gloves Wednesday as she helped plant perennials as part of the school’s new outdoor garden.
“I don’t like touching dirt so much,” she said.
On a blustery Earth Day, Audrey and her fellow fourth-graders joined workers from West Chicago-based Grant & Power Landscaping in finishing the $19,500 project.
Of that amount, $14,500 was donated in the form of plants, mulch, edging stones and in-kind labor from Grant & Power Landscaping, Shemin Landscape Supply of Addison and Lafarge/Fox River Stone of South Elgin.
The new classroom is in the back of the school, and it features a canopy of trees for shade, shrubs, perennial plants, mulch, paver pathways and a stone teaching area. Students raised $5,000 to pay for the project’s completion.
The H.C. Storm Leadership Team held a fundraising walk, and H.C. Storm students, parents and school staff hosted a dinner fundraiser.
“The kids have been working on it for two years,” said Julie Alholm, instructional coach at H.C. Storm. “They are so excited. It surprises me how excited they are.”
That includes 10-year-old H.C. Storm student Nathan Boettcher.
“I’m really happy that we got to plant plants,” he said. “I can’t wait for everything to come in.”
Plans are to install a Little Free Library in the outdoor garden next week, Alholm said.
A Little Free Library is a box full of books, and anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.
The library is in memory of former H.C. Storm Elementary School student Anna Danielson, who died in 2013 in a car crash in Earlville. She was 20.
“She was an avid reader,” Alholm said.