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How Does Your Garden Grow?

September 30, 2018

LITTLETON -- Months of hard work by four former Shaker Lane School students culminated in the completion of a revitalized second-grade garden on school grounds as part of a Girl Scout project.

The school recently celebrated the grand reopening of the overhauled garden that was completed by Shaker Lane alums and current Littleton Middle School sixth-graders Kailey Hannon, Katie Kulchuk, Olivia Olson and Maeve Tule, with guidance from troop leader Julie Kulchuk.

“It was hard work but really fun,” Kailey said. “It makes me happy to know that all of the students at Shaker Lane will enjoy the new garden every day when they go to school.”

The girls began planting the seeds of their project last fall, and started the hands-on restoration work in May. Their effort to reinvigorate the garden served as the group’s Girl Scout Bronze Award project. The Bronze Award is the highest award a junior level Girl Scout can receive, and can only be obtained through an extended commitment to community service. To earn the award, each girl must fulfill no fewer than 20 hours of service.

The girls combined to perform more than 160 hours of service on their project.

“I’m so proud of the initiative that Kailey, Maeve, Olivia and Katie took to develop and execute this project,” Shaker Lane Principal Michelle Kane said. “They were committed to doing a great job throughout the whole process, and their hard work will benefit our entire school community for years to come.”

To make the new garden a reality, the girls developed the concept for the project, secured funding and played a vital role in performing all of the landscaping and labor. To support their work, Kailey, Katie, Olivia and Maeve conducted a pair of fundraisers -- a bake sale and a penny war between each grade level -- that raised a total of more than $1,800.

“We are very thankful to everyone who donated,” Katie said. “It really made an impact. We hope that the kids will enjoy the garden.”

The girls also secured donations from Littleton Lumber and spent time with professional carpenter Michael Gott, who taught them about power tools, including saws, drills and sanders, and guided them through the construction of the garden’s new fence.

Upon completing the project, the girls unanimously agreed that working with the power tools was their favorite part of the project.

The garden itself features plants that native butterflies prefer, including milkweeds, asters, blueberries and butterfly weed. To coincide with rededicating the garden, the four Girl Scouts visited each second-grade classroom at Shaker Lane and shared research they had done on butterflies, and butterflies have already begun making themselves at home at Shaker Lane.

As they got closer to completion, they got to see the natural processes they’d learned about take place before their eyes.

“Because we were building the garden, we got to see the caterpillars change to chrysalis and then to butterflies,” Maeve said. “It was really cool.”

The garden has been certified by MonarchWatch.org as an official Monarch Waystation, which provides the resources necessary for monarch butterflies to produce successive generations and sustain their migration.

In addition to Littleton Lumber, several local groups and organizations supported the girls’ efforts by donating supplies and services. They include Aubuchon Hardware, MJ Cataldo Landscape and Constructions, the Gruber family, Littleton Earthworks, and Neufell Tree and Landscape.

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