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updated: 9/28/2012 1:08 PM

Students, community build garden at Ivy Hill school in Arlington Hts.

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  • Ivy Hill students work on raised flower beds in the new community garden behind their school.

    Ivy Hill students work on raised flower beds in the new community garden behind their school.
    Photo courtesy Ivy Hill School


Students, parents and staff will be working Sunday morning to lay the groundwork for a new community garden behind Ivy Hill School in Arlington Heights where school officials said the public is invited to come lend a hand, or a shovel.

Ivy Hill has received more than $6,000 in grants to develop a community garden over the past year and has been working with master gardeners from the Arlington Heights Garden Club to develop a plan, said Ginny Hiltz, assistant principal.

"We're taking a space that wasn't being used for much and turning into something educational and a nice thing to look at," Hiltz said.

Last year, students from the K-5 school worked on cleaning up the site and building fences, while Sunday, Sept. 30, they will lay a pathway of limestone and start planting. The group will also hold a video chat with former principal Kristy Csensich, who is now in Peru, and dedicate a garden sign to her for her efforts in starting the project.

The garden has six large raised beds, one for each grade level to cultivate and grow vegetables in the spring. Students will get to eat some of the food, but the rest will be donated to area food pantries.

The garden will tie in with a new science curriculum being taught at the school and include several species native to Illinois such as prairie grasses.

Benches and a classroom-like area will allow both students and the public to enjoy the garden, Hiltz said.

"The kids are really excited. They just like being outside, enjoying nature and learning in a hands-on way," Hiltz said.

The public can help with the fall garden day from 9 a.m. to noon in back of Ivy Hill School, 2211 N. Burke Drive, Arlington Heights.

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