Earth Day Greenhouse Groundbreaking

Alpine Bank officers John Stelzriede and Kent Wilson, school principal Audrey Hazleton, teachers, volunteers and students lift trowels and garden implements to herald the construction of the new Alpine Garden and Greenhouse.

Seeded by visionary partnerships and collaboration, the idea of a school greenhouse and garden was cultivated into a reality. A project nearly five years in the making, the groundbreaking for the Glenwood Springs Elementary School Alpine Garden took place on April 22, 2019.

Glenwood Springs Elementary School recently adopted an Expeditionary Learning curriculum. The new garden and greenhouse will serve as an outdoor classroom with instruction in all subjects, provide food for the students, and healthy living skills instruction to both students and adults.

“Gardening provides an alternative experiential model that works for many learners,” says Renee Miller, a fundraiser for the project. Wellness teacher and co-fundraiser Stephanie Pollender notes that shoveling dirt and the upcoming excavation for the project will be a part of physical education classes. “Kids can learn the words corn, carrot and the color orange in both English and Spanish,” says Renee. “all while we’re trying to express why it’s important to eat peas.”

The Valley Settlement Project, Garfield County Cooperative Extension, the Alpine Environmental Foundation, Colorado Succeeds, Glenwood Garden Club, local businesses and countless individuals contributed time, programming ideas and money. Alpine Bank Glenwood Springs contributed to the garden on behalf of customers who use the bank’s Education and Environment loyalty debit  cards.

Renee explains that an ornamental iron sign is being crafted by the welding program at Colorado Mountain College (CMC) in Rifle, along with the climate control for the greenhouse from applied engineering technician students at the Carbondale CMC campus. Architecture and design has been contributed by Basalt architect Michael Thompson.

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