History of the Nab Lab at Nabnasset School
During the winter of 1997 a grant committee consisting of Maryann Cappello and Teresa McLean, parents, and Dora DesAutels, teacher representative on the School Council, began to pursue grant opportunities that would be beneficial to Nabnasset School. At this point in time, the building/renovation of the school was in progress. The newly enclosed courtyard was a very ugly sight. Landscaping had not been accomplished. A huge pile of weed infested soil sat in the middle of the courtyard.
The courtyard became our major focus. It was decided that a hands-on environmental area would best fit the needs of K-2 students. We were fortunate to obtain the volunteer services of Nicholas Reed, a Westford landscape architect. He made a site visit in the summer of 1997 and provided us with a beautiful site plan. Nicholas recommended that we needed topsoil before we could begin any major planting. Early in the winter of 1998 Diane Brogan, principal of Nabnasset School, was able to get the building committee to provide topsoil. They also installed one bench.
In the spring of 1998 I wrote and received a Westford Partnership for Education grant for approximately $1000.00. We spent this money on tools, planting boxes, more soil, and one storage shed. Many generous parents donated perennial plants and worked with small groups of children to plant them. Some teachers raised seedlings in the classroom and planted them in the boxes. A local boy scout built the boxes as part of his Eagle Scout requirements. Many parents volunteered to help with the watering during the summer months. The garden was brought into full bloom by the summer of 1998.
During the 1998-1999 school year Kathy Souza became a parent representative on the School Council. She was able to get a matching grant from Millipore. We also received a Dutch Bulb Grant for 250 spring bulbs. We purchased and planted another 1200 bulbs. Again many parent volunteers helped children to plant the fall bulbs and made monetary donations to the "Nab Lab". With the matching funds from Millipore we were able to purchase 3 maple trees, 2 apple trees, several low growing shrubs, 2 picnic tables, and another storage shed. .
In the spring of 1999 I wrote another grant to the Westford Partnership for Education and received another grant for approximately $1000.00. This was also matched by Millipore. With this grant we purchased a portable greenhouse so that our seedlings could get an earlier start. We also purchased a selection of gardening books that teachers could borrow from our professional development library. Diane Brogan also received a Westford Partnership for Education grant to purchase a Grow light Cart.
With the extra matching funds from Millipore we purchased six more smaller Grow Light Carts that teachers could use to raise seedlings in the room. This fund also provided monies for maintenance of the "Nab Lab".
Children continue to be enhanced in this wonderful environmental area. Life cycles come and go before their eyes. The seasons change and perennials and bulbs pop up to announce the arrival of spring. The blaze of color from the variety of bulbs welcomes students to come and discover all that nature has provided for us.
In the waning days of fall we set the butterflies free and observe the heavy headed sunflowers as they beckon us to come pick and count their seeds. I am grateful to all who have provided monies and volunteer help to make the "Nab Lab" a reality.
We would welcome any new parents who would like to help maintain and enhance this very important learning area.