Last fall, thanks to a Lyons Community Foundation grant, the garden program at Lyons Elementary added a new element: Bees! A honeybee habitat with a clear viewing window was installed in the wall of the school that leads out to the garden courtyard, allowing students to witness the activity of a live bee colony and its bounty of honey created.
Spearheaded by Kim and Andy Doering, the garden program has been flourishing over the last few years. Students at every grade level participate in everything from the collection and harvesting of seeds, planting and growing plants, crop cultivation, picking of the harvest and ultimately the delivery of fresh vegetables to the Lyons Food Pantry. There are also bulbs and flowers grown that contribute to landscaping efforts around the school. Key additions also funded through Lyons Community Foundation (LCF) granting over the past few years have included the addition of several hoop houses that extend the growing season.
Not only are students engaged in the curriculum during grade level science study, but elements of garden work have engaged other student groups such as the Garden/Eco club, the monthly K-12 Outdoor Science and Leadership program, and the after school enrichment “Pathfinders” program. In addition, a variety of community members have been brought into the mix to add their expertise. Daniel Warner is a professional bee keeper and has lent his knowledge to the bee program. Local high school student, garden and eco-enthusiast, Charlie Gau and community members Nell and Gary Coffey participate in the Science and Leadership program regularly along with other experts in composting and permaculture.
The environmental leadership shown at Lyons Elementary is something that has been building over the last many years. The school became one of Eco Cycle’s “green star” schools in 2005, meaning the school recycles and composts. Eco Cycle provides consistent training and support for higher level sustainable practices. The school started an Eco Club in 2012, further engaging passionately involved school children and, by default, their families and classmates. Each year, this program has broadened its focus. Initially, the club focused on proper sorting of trash and compost. With the help of a grant, they purchased reusable dishes and have gradually moved towards a Zero Waste model for all school events and classroom parties. The club works with University of Colorado’s Ralphie’s Green Team at home football and basketball games and has begun to work on a model for a true zero waste school. The school store has shifted from selling disposable plastic trinkets to offering reusable napkins and sandwich bags as well as veggie and plant seedlings. This year, the club is looking to focus its efforts to tackle a big issue in climate change: food waste.
Lyons Elementary School and Middle/High Schools along with dozens of Lyons area non- profits all benefit from the Lyons Community Foundation’s annual Community Support Grants, which focus on LCF’s mission to improve the quality of life, build a culture of giving, and encourage positive change for the greater Lyons area. All grants aim to connect philanthropic and lifestyle- enriching experiences for Lyons- area residents with the people willing and able to support them. Awards typically focus on areas such as human services, culture, history, youth development and ecology. The application window for this year recently closed, awards will be announced in early November. LCF relies on the contributions of area residents and businesses. To donate or get more involved, please see lyonscf.org.
Lyons Community Foundation