June 22, 2018
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Community collaborators create herb garden at Appleton school

APPLETON — The Community School, Appleton Village School, Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midcoast Maine banded together on May 4 to create a new herb garden for Appleton Village School. The service learning project was planned by students of The Community School, located in Camden, to fulfill requirements for Tanglewood’s Community Resources for Environmental Wellness program.

Students at The Community School began working with the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program during the fall. While working with Tanglewood, students from the Community School brainstormed with their “littles” about how they could give back to their school and community. Both bigs and littles were excited about planting, and when Lillie Vitelli, an education technician at Appleton Village School, became involved, the project manifested itself as an herb garden.

At first, the littles seemed apprehensive. “I hate herbs,” one said. Bigs from The Community School pointed out that herbs could be found in a variety of foods, even pizza, and slowly the littles warmed up. Armed with trowels, students began planning where different herbs should be placed. By the end of the hour, bigs and littles had mud-stained knees and dirt under their fingernails as they vied to be the next to plant.

After planting, students painted stepping stones to commemorate their contribution to the Appleton Roots Garden. Ayla Johnson, 16, of The Community School hopes that the garden will make a difference. “They’ll be able to eat their herbs in their school lunches and learn about the importance of local foods,” she said.

Vitelli has other hopes for the future of the Appleton Roots Garden. The herb garden, located next to the existing Butterfly Garden, will extend Appleton’s outdoor classroom. Appleton also has a vegetable garden and developing fruit tree orchard.

For more information on the Appleton gardens, email Lillie Vitelli at lillie_vitelli@fivetowns.net. To learn more about The Community School, visit www.thecommunityschool.org. For information on Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit www.bbbsmcm.org. For more information on Tanglewood, visit www.umaine.edu/tanglewood.

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