Elementary school students in Rossburn have earned a $3,000 grant to help plant fruit trees in local greenspace, creating a public orchard that is being called an “edible park.”
The money comes from Trees Canada and is one of just 20 community grants the organization issued, from roughly 100 applications.
The new orchard will be close to the elementary school, to two seniors living complexes and a seniors drop-in centre. It’s the first public orchard in the town and is expected to not only provide fresh fruit but provide a shaded area in the new development.
Tree planting is set for Sept. 10, with representatives from the Upper Assiniboine River Conservation District and an arborist on hand to help, guide and teach elementary students about proper planting.
Rossburn Elementary School will include lessons from the orchard into the curriculum, including the different stages of growing, like pollination, growing/seasons of the fruit trees, environmental benefits and climate change adaption.
They’ll also share lessons learned with a school they’ve been twinned with in Jamaica.
Once the orchard is producing fruits, the school will work together with senior groups to learn about preserving fruits and harvesting. While it is a public orchard, it is hoped that the school and the interested seniors groups can work out a public schedule for harvesting opportunities, especially as some of the fruit will ripen outside of the school year.
A planned second phase of the project calls for a butterfly garden to improve pollination, benches, lighting and walking paths for seniors as well as raised beds for herbs and perennials.
The town of Rossburn has offered in-kind help by taking on the watering of the trees.
» Brandon Sun
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 27, 2013