Brush Creek kids set to seed |

Brush Creek kids set to seed

Cindy Ramunno
EDU PIPs Gardening BH 3-17 Vail Daily/Bret Hartman Parents initiative projects members Amy Pates, Chris Mayhew, princepal of Brush Creek Elementary, Brenday Kleinfelder and Mary Lou Keller gear up for gardening at Brush Creek Elementary. The school will be running a greenhouse because of the groups' efforts.

Brush Creek Elementary staff and students say they have enjoyed unique and pleasant surprises this year. Thanks to members of the Parent Initiative Program, who have decorated classrooms, making the elementary school, many there say, a friendlier place to be.

Soothing fountains, comfortable furniture and fresh paint have made classrooms more homey and welcoming.

The group is spearheaded by moms Brenda Kleinfelder, Mary Lou Keller and Amy Pates, and relies on many sponsors, contributors and volunteers. The group works around the Eagle County School District’s curriculum and the needs of its staff.

Early in the school year, the women sat down with Principal Chris Mayhew and talked about how the school could add more curriculum-based programs for kids, specifically programs that make learning fun.

Now they’re at it again. The school now has a greenhouse for student use – and the students will learn much more than typical gardening.

Pates first contacted the National Gardening Association for information on how to incorporate gardening into the current curriculum. She says she was pleased with the amount of information and books, so she went to work.

Parents Kevin and Sandy Story of Sweetwater Perennials kindly donated a hoop house and parent Chris Fedrizzi and Gallegos Corporation employees went to work to move it to the school. Parents Joe and Sarah Keegan provided lunches for the volunteers who helped move the house.

Now, says Pates, it’s time to get the greenhouse running. Her husband, Chris Pates, has volunteered to oversee the project and the duo is currently locating plumbers and electricians. Pates Management and Brush Creek Landscaping are helping and it’s actually happening, she says.

“We need people to help in the next week or so,” says Pates.

Teachers are now thinking about how to incorporate the new addition into their classroom work. The school also just received a grant for loads of seeds and other supplies. The group collaborated with Betty Ford Gardens in order to receive that grant.

The local 4-H Club is also starting a mini-greenhouse series so that students can start seeding.

“We would also like to create a peace garden/amphitheatre towards the back of the school,” says Pates.

The group is searching for big boulders to use for seats around the stage area. The area would showcase quotes promoting peace and positive messages in different languages. The idea is yet another relaxing learning area for students at the school. “Peace is so important,” she says.

To learn more about programs at Brush Creek Elementary call 328-8930.

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