Thanks to two landscaping companies, students at Round Lake Beach Elementary School in Round Lake Beach, Illinois, are enjoying a new outdoor learning space, according to an published in the Daily Herald.
Annie Adamski, the school's art teacher, said the idea to improve the facility’s outdoor space came from a group of second-graders in an enrichment program she taught in the spring. The students had to come up with a problem to solve, and they chose to make the school more beautiful.
The project began with the students walking around the building, identifying where they could put things and then researching how much it would cost to do it. The group then wrote to local landscaping companies asking them to donate rocks they could paint and place around the school.
Dwayne Ulrichs, director of sales and business development for Lurvey Garden Center & Landscape Supply, received one of their letters. Ulrichs donated the rocks the students requested, but he reportedly felt compelled to do more after coming to the school and seeing how grateful the kids and teachers were.
Ulrichs then reached out to Kyle Cook, head of operations at O'Brien Landscapes, asking if O'Brien would like to donate labor to the project. Cook said they were happy to, so with the help of the school district, an old jungle gym was removed, and in its place they created an outdoor learning space with boulders to sit on. His landscaping crew extended and improved walkways and enhanced the landscaping, planting native plants.
Adamski said the whole school is very grateful to Lurvey and O'Brien for all they've done. Overall, Lurvey donated $6,400 worth of materials and O'Brien donated around 100 hours of time to the project.
"It really blossomed into something so much bigger than we imagined," Adamski told the Daily Herald. "We asked for a small donation and it turned into something that will make a huge visual change to our building."