Congratulations to Principal Bill Cirullo, recipient of the 2013 Sustainable Princeton Leadership Award!
WELCOME TO OUR GARDENS!!
Riverside School Principal Bill Cirullo approved the garden plan shortly after September 11th, 2001, when parent Dorothy Mullen asked to develop a community garden as a peace-oriented service project. Her particular interests were in children's health and nutrition, environmental stewardship, and what has come to be called "food security."
Today, thanks to Dorothy's efforts and the hard work of our student and community volunteers, Riverside School is the home of the largest public school garden in New Jersey. Our gardens include over a dozen “outdoor classrooms” and a vegetable garden for the benefit of our local food pantry. Our outdoor classrooms now include butterfly gardens, vegetable and raspberry patches, a community Lawn-to-Food program, a container garden and vibrant compost piles (where some of the best lessons are learned).
Through a Garden Residency funded in large part by the PTO, Riverside students pre-K through grade 5 learn while gardening on a regular basis, experiencing hands-on lessons in science, mathematics, language arts, environmental stewardship, community service and more. Our children plant, tend, harvest and taste - experiencing real food as it grows in nature.
Students and parents also enjoy the fruits/labors of our gardens as part of our after-school Garden Club. These families work year-round, helping "wake up" the gardens in spring, tending them during the growing season and "putting the gardens to bed" in late fall.
The Go Green Committee is a group of parents and teachers interested in improving our children's awareness of our carbon footprint, promoting green initiatives in the school and the community, emphasizing health habits, garbage reduction, etc. Our short term goals are to promote a "no bottle water" policy in the school, promote the use of reusable water bottles, garbage-less lunches, recycling of packaging materials, turning off the lights, cafeteria waste composting, etc.
We also have a training program for Master Gardeners, as well as parents and educators who want to start gardens in their own school districts. We host tours and workshops for staff, parents and volunteers from all over New Jersey, helping them start up school gardens, sharing lessons, and giving members of the larger community a beautiful view of what it’s possible to do with a relatively small budget and many willing hands.
Riverside parents and community members - we'd love your time and talents. If you'd like to receive mailings about garden activities, help in the gardens in any way, with your time, talents or as a "garden angel" financial sponsor, please contact Beth Behrend at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our gardens are supported in large part by our PTO and all support is appreciated!!
Our gardens have been featured in the New York Times ( http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/nyregion/new-jersey/07Rgarden.html)
and in a 2011 School Leader magazine article!
Click here for a tour of our famous outdoor classroom.
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