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Helen Silvis of The Skanner
Published: 05 September 2007

For 10 years Micaela Bosche has been hoping to land an extreme makeover -- not for herself but for Humboldt School, where she teaches 6th and 7th-grade students. That dream will come true on Sept. 22, when volunteers will meet at the school to create a garden and beautify the school.
"It's for the kids and we're going to make it beautiful for them," Boesche said. "This is something we've been working on for 10 years. It's the garden that I'm most excited about. I'm very excited for the kids to have a place - because that's what it's all about. It's all about the kids having a place to watch the environment and see how it works."
Hands On Portland, a nonprofit that connects volunteers with key community projects, has sponsored the project. The group is looking for 250 volunteers to spend a day painting the school, beautifying the grounds, rehabilitating the playground and creating the garden.
Cheryl Paul, business cares manager with Hands On Greater Portland, said Humboldt is a natural for the makeover.
"We did a similar project over at Vernon Elementary last year," she said "and that's how I found out that Humboldt had been dreaming of getting this started for years."
Students, families and anyone who want to help can take part, Paul said, but potential volunteers must call to register or sign up on line.
"You can't just turn up on the day," she said, "because at Vernon we were expecting 350 people and 600 people turned up."
As well as improving the look of the school, the gardens offer unique educational opportunities, Boesche said. Children learn about growing food, about caring for the natural environment as they observe plants and animals close-up.
The garden will include several raised beds, where children will be able to plant, investigate and tend vegetables and native plants. Another area will be designed to attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
"It ties in with our science curriculum: plants, plant lifecycles, habitats for birds and other animals, Boesche said. "Many of our children don't have the opportunity to garden so for me this is all about having them take care of their own garden and take pride in their neighborhood."
Funding for the project has come from Hands On Greater Portland, the Hands On Network and Points of Light Foundation, and from the companies Home Depot and Behr. To register call 503.413.7787 or visit http://www.handsonportland.org/AboutUs/index.php/Special_Events_Humboldt.html.

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