5th Graders beautify Sylvan Lake area | VailDaily.com
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5th Graders beautify Sylvan Lake area

Cindy Ramunno

Edwards Elementary teacher Dianne Combs knows a good learning experience when she sees it. And she also knows an opportunity when she sees it. So when principal Cindy Secrist came on board last year, she knew Secrist’s husband, Doug was the park manager for the Sylvan Lake visitor center.

“We had applied for a grant that we didn’t receive through Project Learning Tree and Project Wild,” says Combs. Combs was determined to have her 5th graders to a service project and took the opportunity last fall to contact Doug Secrist.

“We were originally going to do this project last fall, but then the cold weather came so early,” Combs explains.

Even with the project postponed, the 5th graders were working on it. It fit in perfectly with the Wilderness Unit required by the district for 5th graders. In language arts, kids wrote letters to local nurseries asking for help in providing the landscaping materials for the project.

“They got to experience writing a business letter, and saw the response first hand,” Combs says.

And that response was overwhelming. Wild Flower Farms and Spring Valley Greenhouse gave the kids loads of flowers to plant. Stevens Homecare provided small trees to plant. Part of the master plan for the Sylvan Lake State Park is to plant native plants around the area, so the students also learned about the various plants that they put in and the surrounding environment.

Marlin Smickley, who’s in the Master Gardening Program, helped the students, along with parents. Parents hauled trees, flowers and shovels. One parent even provided a post-hole digger.

The entire 5th grade from Edwards Elementary School headed up Brush Creek Road in Eagle to do the project last Tuesday, and it was a huge success.

“Doug Secrist does an amazing job up at Sylan and he works really well with kids. These types of projects are a win-win situation,” said U.S. Forest Service Assistant Ranger Bill Johnson.


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