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by Brian Williams, Principal, Sustainability Academy
Something wonderful happened on May 1st at the Sustainability Academy when more than 80 volunteers from Seventh Generation came to our school for a day of service. Walking to SA from their headquarters by the waterfront, they grabbed a healthy snack, put on sunscreen, heard some inspirational words from Mayor Miro Weinberger, broke up into teams organized by Seventh Gen’s Justin Beaulieu, and commenced beautifying our campus.
One team worked with garden guru Bonnie Acker on our extensive gardens, weeding, feeding, tending, watering, and mulching, while another built more raised beds for the backyard farm and the preschool- check out the 42-foot stepped raised bed that now protects our blueberries! A new boulder garden was established in the front of the school to provide a shaded area for conversation, and our baseball diamond was completely overhauled and is now ready for opening day this weekend.
The SA Murray street annex was likewise overwhelmed with motivated Seventh Gener’s who established a beautiful curved walkway to connect it with our main campus, trimmed the out-of-control cedars bushes, and turned it into an inspired and inviting new space. Meanwhile, inside our new bike shop, the art crew decorated it in bold colors and designs-- think playful Caribbean!
The community cleanup crew buffed out our sidewalks and walkways and even ventured into the O.N.E. neighborhood, picking up trash and meeting new friends. The biggest hit with the kids though are the new oversize sandboxes that were made with the leftover logs from our outdoor classroom. Within seconds of completion the SA beach was buzzing with laughter and shouts of joy and within minutes their imaginations had started to transform the sand into magical landscapes.
After a long morning of non-stop action the work party took a break to enjoy a delicious meal of Shelburne Farms mac and cheese accompanied by an abundant salad bar filled with whole and healthy foods thanks to Burlington Food Service (the same service our students enjoy daily). After lunch, SA parent and yoga instructor, Carrie Steele led a half hour yoga session in the shade and then the recharged workers finished strong.
By the end of the day, everyone had a tired smile on their face and a great story to tell-- a story that is rooted in reaching out, giving back, and making a difference where it’s needed and greatly appreciated.
In addition to BSD Property Services, the students, faculty, parents and community of the Sustainability Academy want to thank John Replogle, CEO of Seventh Generation and his incredible team of activists and advocates. The Sustainability Academy-Seventh Generation partnership is a great example of what can happen when businesses invest directly in their communities, build lasting relationships, and support the work that needs to be done to create a future that is sustainable and desirable.