A Community Surrounds Their Local School With Love, Commitment and Gardening

The group, The Rings of Saturn (http://rings.saturnelementary.com), was formed in March of 2009, by a small number of local residents working hard to build a stronger connection between the community and their school, Saturn Elementary.  Melissa Patrick, Rayna Saslove, Ashley Thompson and Pico Neighborhood Council’s own Scott McNeely planted the seeds of this endeavor and it’s taking off.

Rather than take the easy road of sending their kids to a westside school, this small group, along with the staff and principal, Tracie Bryant, had a vision to green the school by pursuing a very ambitious Community Park Project.

Currently, the 1st phase is underway.  Donated by the Pico Neighborhood Council and co-sponsored by the Children’s Nature Institute with their donation of native plants, a multi-purpose garden is under construction with plans to complete it by the spring.  Other phases including a walking path, small forest, poetry garden, natural amphitheater, art installations, meadow and edible planting beds, are slated to be installed as funds become available.

This project would transform the campus into a park-like setting that would be integrated into the curriculum as well as provide badly needed green space available to the community after school hours.  With such an inspirational idea, it’s no wonder that others have joined in this effort.  A group of highly professional individuals are now lending their expertise pro bono.

Local politicians have also endorsed the project. Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Councilmember Herb J. Wesson and LAUSD’s Marguerite LaMotte have formally given the thumbs up.  However, the real work has yet to come – fundraising.  It is hoped that grants, funds, matching programs, donations, corporate sponsorship and good ol’ sweat from community members will make this dream a reality.

For updates, register as a volunteer or to donate to the project, register at http://rings.saturnelementary.com



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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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