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Grant Recipient Visit: Houston Elementary School in Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, PA
Henry H Houston School
7300 Rural Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19119
Tuesday, August 20, 2024, 1:00 AM - 3:00 PM EDT
Category: Grant Recipients Pop-Up Events

 Grant Recipient Families for Houston – Site Visit to Houston Elementary School

If you would like to see how HPS/MAG’s grant funds transform neighborhoods, come to this pop-up! The Henry H. Houston School is a K-8 public school in West Mt. Airy. The thriving dry, full-sun, hillside native pollinator garden expansion at the school was supported by a 2024 grant of $1000 from the Hardy Plant Society to the Families for Houston (FFH). Patrick Hauck, a master gardener and neighbor, has invited us to visit the school on August 20 to show us how our grant funds supported an effort he spearheaded. This project began in the spring of 2020, when school neighbors launched an initiative to improve neglected school grounds. While invasive weeds and vines were removed from the school’s façade, the STEM teacher, Christine Bush, worked with volunteers to develop an outdoor classroom. Understanding plants and insects is included in many of the outdoor classes using this space. Not only did this area serve to educate students, but members of the community began to gather there to socialize, read and play. As the garden expanded, so did the population of hummingbirds, bees, wasps, and butterflies. The project has had a major visual, horticultural, and environmental impact on the school and surrounding community.

Neighborhood interest has prompted further expansion of the garden and a coordinated effort by members of the community to oversee the maintenance of this thriving garden. What began as a guerilla gardening effort to improve the neglected school grounds has grown into a small army of dedicated volunteers. All the preparation, planting, watering, weeding, and maintenance is carried out by local gardeners, neighbors, members of Weaver’s Way, and members of FFH.

With permanent weatherproof labels, this garden surrounding the outdoor classroom serves as a teaching garden. Not only does it enhance the beauty of the school, but it also sends the students a clear message that their community cares about them. With a 90% minority population, 99% of whom face economic disadvantages, this is an important impactful message.

For those of you looking to combine a little plant shopping with your visit to the Chestnut Hill/Mt. Airy area, check out Laurel Hill Gardens https://www.laurelhillgardens.com/About-Us, in nearby Chestnut Hill. Morris Arboretum is also close by.

Open to members and nonmembers. Registration is required. Cost is $10 for members; $20 for nonmembers. Registration fees will be donated to Families for Houston.

Maximum number of attendees is 20.

Note: The Henry H. Houston Elementary School is at 7300 Rural Lane in Mt. Airy (Philadelphia). Rural Lane is a one block long dead-end street, off Allen Lane. The Houston School occupies the entire side of the street. There should be ample parking on Rural Lane. Wear comfortable shoes, as there are steps. This is a rain or shine event, open to members and non-members.

Click here to register. Registration closes August 17. Click here if you would like to become a member of HPS/MAG before registering for this event.

Event will be held rain or shine. In the event of heavy rain, the event will be cancelled.

Contact: Beverly Schwartz at [email protected]