The community garden at Park Avenue Elementary School in the North Bellmore School District has served as an outdoor learning space for 10 years, and a former student recently spearheaded an effort to give it a makeover.
Gus Bresnaider, a senior at Mepham High School and a 2015 Park Avenue graduate, completed his Eagle Scout community service project at the garden on Nov. 21. He and about two dozen volunteers – many fellow scouts from Troop 123 – worked all day to make several improvements. They created a sign for the front of the garden that reads “Park Pride” and installed narrower garden beds that make it easier for young children to harvest the crops. Gus’s project also included two wheelchair-accessible garden beds that follow the children’s ADA regulation for elevated tables.
“I picked my former elementary school as a way of giving back for all that I had learned and the wonderful experiences I had,” he said. “I wanted to pay it forward and make the next students’ memories even better than my own, and I hope this installation may help with that.”
Art teacher Jill Skelly and first grade teacher Robin Obey are the garden coordinators and we on hand for the installation. They met with Bresnaider in advance to identify projects that would best improve the garden, deciding that more child-friendly garden beds and raised beds for students with special needs were most needed.
“We were overjoyed when he came to us last year and wanted to do something for the garden for his Eagle Scout project,” Skelly said, noting that Gus was a student at Park Avenue when it was first created. “Gus' professional handling of the whole project was truly worthy of the Eagle title. The new beds guarantee another 10 years of healthy planting with much easier access for the students.”