Ismael Flores, left, and Manuel Morales of Los Alamos Landscaping and More assist with some of the hard work in the Los Alamos Middle School garden. Photo by Bernadette Lauritzen
An idea from staff, some volunteer time and some funds from Keep New Mexico Beautiful (KNMB) will soon have the Los Alamos Middle School (LAMS) landscape in full bloom.
After securing a grant from KNMB in the fall, staff and students literally got their hands dirty and went to work.
The result was an award-winning effort, recognized by KNMB.
“Now that we have experienced some warmer weather we are beginning to see the results of being awarded the KNMB grants,” Middle School Principal Rex Kilburn said. “I am so appreciative of the support that this organization gave to my school.”
The plants included fall bulbs planted during Red Ribbon Week, a national week to celebrate students making good choices for their future. The bulbs tend to bloom during April, which is also nationally recognized as Underage Drinking Prevention month.
As the flowers just begin to peek through the soil, the team is reminded of the work that went into project and the hope that a few more donations of garden-ready soil will be given to the project and the final plant installation. Metzger’s has the soil in stock and generously offered a discount for the school project. Currently 12-15 additional bags are needed for the final section of the garden.
The LAMS Student Council, under the direction of teacher Linda Pike Bennett was instrumental in bringing the project to fruition, according to Kilburn.
“Although the middle school had many helpers doing the prep work and planting, I am especially grateful to Linda Bennett and her Student Council students that did the bulk of the planting,” Kilburn said. “I look forward to seeing all the beauty of the flowers and plants in the upcoming months.”
The multi faceted project included bulb and plant additions, making wildflower packets and re-establishing a memorial garden on the footprint of the new building.
Los Alamos Landscaping and More owner Craig Wehner and his employees, Ismael Flores and Manuel Morales, assisted with creating the garden. Wehner was on hand when the plants arrived at LAMS, where he once attended as a student in 1991. He later created his first landscaping business, “Craig’s Rake and Pick,” with a grant from the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation’s Youth Business Grant Program.
“The Middle School owes a great thanks to Los Alamos Landscaping and More for their generous donation of dirt and some on- site expertise in where to place the plants in the bed,” Kilburn said.
Wehner also helped students choose which plants to feature in the garden.
Los Alamos Public Schools employee and volunteer Carol Moore, along with students and staff from LAMS worked for weeks to move rock, ready the soil, plants bulbs and spread wildflower seed before the first freeze.
Those wishing to make a donation can contact the school project at 505.663.3252.