Each year the City of Niagara Falls Park in the City Committee, the Niagara Parks Commission and the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture organize the Niagara Falls Schools In Bloom Program. This program gives schools across the city the opportunity to participate in rewarding activities to landscape and beautify their schoolyard areas, while continuing to learn about horticulture and the environment.
Ultimately, the purpose of the Niagara Falls Schools In Bloom program is to educate, cultivate and participate: Educating students about the exciting world of horticulture, cultivating not only gardens but friendships as well and participating in the improvement of our school environments and our community as a whole. For the most part, projects are student driven. As a result, students develop a sense of pride and ownership for their school and work. At the same time, they are taught responsibility, perseverance, teamwork and respect for the environment; skills which are truly essential to their personal and professional development. Presently, the Niagara Falls Schools In Bloom program involves Niagara Falls high schools and elementary schools who have committed to the project.
How does it work?
All catholic and public high schools and elementary schools in Niagara Falls qualify for the program. An online submission must be completed in order to be accepted into the program. The online form will request information on a horticulture plan that you and your student team want to implement during the 2016 spring season. Please keep in mind, that the intent of the program is further student learning in the environment and horticulture, not to be viewed as a funding outlet to beautify the school surroundings. All projects are to involve student input and implementation. Project examples can include a basic flower bed or the creation of a vegetable garden. Peace gardens can be consider and even elaborate projects, such as an outdoor learning space may excite your students. However, if your plan is to attempt something large, such as an outdoor learning centre, you should consider dividing the project up into phases over a few years and ensure your students will be able to implement your project.
If accepted in to the program, you will then receive an invitation to attend a workshop in March. At this workshop, you will receive various donations to utilize with your project. Example donations would be monetary funding, gift certificates to acquire complimentary soil, compost and plant material. Donors may give tools too. Your school will also receive support from Schools-In-Bloom Committee Volunteers who can advise on "how to" ideas for projects. They can assist you throughout the process to ensure your project is successful. Keep in mind, that it will be the school's responsibility to be able to acquire supplies from funders. Access to a truck will be vital for this purpose.
Next steps is to establish a team made up of students and volunteers to help design your project, coordinate donation pick-ups and establish planting days. Your assigned Schools-In-Bloom Committee Volunteer will be available for you to ask questions along the way. The idea is to have your project (or phase) completed prior to June 8, 2017. This is when the Committee will come to your school for a few minutes to see what your schools has accomplished. All participating schools will be recognized on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at a special Schools In Bloom Ceremony at the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture.
Registering Your School
Deadline to register your school for the 2017 season is Friday, December 16, 2016. Schools are to register online. For questions on the application, please email Jeff Guarasci or call 905-356-7521 ext.3341.
2017 Niagara Falls Schools In Bloom Workshop
On Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 at the MacBain Community Centre (7150 Montrose Road) in the Multi-Purpose Room D&E (2nd Floor), registered schools will take part in the Schools in Bloom Workshop from 3:00pm to 4:00pm. During the workshop, school leads will be able to ask questions about the program. City Staff will lead the workshop and go through each step to ensure all involved understand what is expected from participants and Liaisons.
Participating schools can check back in early Spring for additional online support. If you have a questions, email Jeff Guarasci or call 905-356-7521 ext.3341.
Types of Projects
We are committed to having experienced horticulturalist volunteers help schools with specific projects. Schools will be asked to indicate what their project will focus on. Here is a brief breakdown of the 3 areas:
- Beautification & Landscaping: A project that may include designing and building a new flower bed or remodelling an existing courtyard. Any projects that deal with landscaping strictly for appeal would fall under this category.
- Nutrition - planting edible gardens: Just as the description states. Possibilities are working with other departments, such as your culinary team or partnering with a local food bank to help develop these gardens. Examples can be an interior wall garden or a garden on wheels to bring from class to class.
- Environmental Initiatives: These would be projects that concentrate on the environment. Whether you would like to take on a tree planting initiative or want to enhance your schools recycling system. Other ideas can include designing naturalized garden areas that attract wildlife, building a small interior greenhouse, etc.
We Want To See What You Have Accomplished
Near the end of the school year, the Schools In Bloom Committee will make an effort to see what your school has been doing with your projects. This is not an evaluation, but just a viewing to see how things are going. The visit is a short 20 minute viewing of your project. You will not be requested to prepare anything for this visit…just show us around! Committee members will be taking pictures of your project. These pictures will be displayed at the ending ceremony. The date for this visit is scheduled for Thursday, June 8th, 2017. City STaff will connect with each school to develop a visiting schedule for the day.
We Want to Recognize You
Each year, participating school in the program are recognized for their project accomplishments. Members of Council, Media, Sponsors and Volunteers join the schools in celebration. This year’s event will take place on Thursday, June 15, 2017 at the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticultre, located beside the Butterfly Conservatory on the Niagara Parkway. Complimentary finger foods and refreshments will be available starting at 2:30pm with the awards ceremony starting at 3:00pm. Each school is encouraged to attend (4 to 6 students, plus 2 to 3 volunteers per school).
Many thanks to our generous partners for the 2016 program:
- The Park in the City Committee
- Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture
- Meridian Credit Union
- Niagara Falls Horticultural Society
- Gauld Nurseries
- Niagara Peninsula Energy Inc.
- Walker Industries and Environmental Group
- Home Depot
- Land Care Niagara
- City of Niagara Falls
Have A Question?
We are here to ensure you have all the answers you need to implement a successful project. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to call us at 905-356-7521 ext.3341 or send us an email.