Garden Work Day September 16

Join Maplewood gardeners on Saturday, September 16 to refresh our school’s vegetable garden boxes and get them ready for the fall growing season! We will also do some general cleanup of the grounds. Bring your kids, gloves, and garden tools. We will have water and snacks for everyone.

Also, if you have a green thumb and want to share your love of gardening, let your child’s teacher know you can help them during the semester!

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Photos by J. Potter-Miller/Maplewood PTA


Volunteer Appreciation Video and Prize

The last PTA meeting of the year was held on May 18, and a special video was screened for our community. Over the previous weeks, students, faculty and staff had participated in a project honoring volunteers for their service, and it was truly marvelous! The PTA also presented Daniel Colimon the inaugural Volunteer of the Year award. Daniel has been an integral part of the school for the entire time his son Nicolas has attended, and lent a hand everything from Wednesday Folders (he’s a page counting machine), to the front desk, tutoring and mentoring students. He’s also organized the Maplewood Food Pantry for the last few years, and helped support countless families in our community. This is his last year as a Maplewood parent and we will always be grateful for his many contributions!


Daniel Colimon, Volunteer of the Year


RESCHEDULED FOR 4/8! Service Sunday: Volunteer at Maplewood, Patterson, Cherrywood Green, Willowbrook Reach, and Servant Church on April 2

UPDATE: Unfortunately there was a tornado warning on Sunday morning, so we rescheduled the volunteer day for next Saturday, 9-11 a.m. We hope to see you at one of the sites!

Our friends at Servant Church are organizing a neighborhood-wide service day, and invite the Maplewood community to join them! There are five places to volunteer this Sunday, April 2 from 10:30-12:30. There is professional childcare available at Servant Church if you prefer, but kids welcome at most of the work sites. We are grateful to Servant Church for being such fantastic neighbors, and for bringing willing hands to help out at our school!

Let’s get together on Sunday morning to make our neighborhood environment beautiful, fun, and life-giving! There will be work for people of all skill levels, interests, and ages at ALL sites but childcare is provided at Servant Church if that’s wanted/needed. Sign up below for a site or for childcare. You don’t have to sign up to join in any of the fun but it WILL help us prepare and have enough supplies, food, and childcare workers.

Also, Servant Church is having a short outdoor service of prayer and communion at 10am if you’d like to start your day that way.

OK, enough info. Time to sign up:
1) I want to play with mulch: We’ll be working at Patterson Park with 30 of our closest new friends to provide some TLC to the trees. Volunteers will move nutrient-rich mulch to trees and spread it under the tree canopy and the critical root zone of Heritage trees on the western edge of the park, off Cherrywood Rd. We will also do some light trash pick up, as needed.

2) I want to prune and weed: We need about 8-10 people at Cherrywood Green who like to cut some plants and give others room to grow. Bring supplies if you have them but we do have some tools to loan if needed.

3) I want to help Maplewood Elementary School: We’ll be mulching with about 20 people at Maplewood.

4) I want to pick up trash: Willowbrook Reach needs some love, y’all. It’s got trash to clean from Airport Boulevard to Cherrywood Road. If you and 20 other people don’t mind getting down in the creek and using trash grabbers, this is a great job for you. Wear pants and long sleeves because there is some poison ivy at the reach! Meet at the red swing at the corner of E. 40th St. and Willowbrook Dr.

5) I want to feed the hungry/work inside: We’ll be baking cookies and packing “survival kits” at Servant Church for the homeless to hand out and donate to Mobile Loaves and Fishes.

I want FREE childcare: forms/zRiQFeRqRKEk468x1 Servant Church is providing professional, quality childcare from 10am-12:30. The children will participate in service activities at the church as able and do projects about caring for the environment.

For more info, email Ashley Croswell or Pastor Abigail Parker-Herrera.


Maplewood Garden Work Day, Saturday March 23

Join the Maplewood community on Saturday morning to refresh our school’s vegetable garden boxes for the spring 2017 growing season, and do some general cleanup of the grounds. Bring your kids, gloves, and garden tools. We’ll have water, snacks, and a truck load of supplies courtesy of the Sustainable Food Center’s resource giveaway on Thursday, including compost, seeds, and seedlings. There are several projects that need tackling, including overgrown flower beds outside portables. Come help us dig in the dirt and beautify the school!

WHEN: Saturday, March 25, 9am–12pm
WHERE: Maplewood Greenhouse

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October Garden Work Day at Maplewood. Photos by Jennifer Potter-Miller.



Melon Monday at Maplewood, an interview with Periwinkle Schuster

On Monday, November 14, PTA volunteers served all 496 Maplewood students melon from our school garden, with reinforcements from the grocery store. Afterward I interviewed Periwinkle Schuster, chair of the Gardening and Landscaping Committee, who organized the event.
Jennifer Potter-Miller

How did the melon patch come about?

Last year I volunteered in the garden at Maplewood Elementary School by spending time outside while the kids where at recess. At the end of the year last year I was thinking about what I was going to grow over the summer, and melon tends to do really well. I was going to be unable to come to the school to tend to anything over the summer, so I used permaculture and I hugeled the bed with wood and soil and compost from home. The 4th graders in Mr. Ludlow’s class, which is next to the greenhouse, helped me plant all the seeds, we watered them, and then it was the end of school.

When I came back school was back in session, and our vine had proliferated. It had grown, and grown and grown! It was such a thrill to myself and the kids, who were so excited that our seeds grew. I also had sent the kids home with seeds, but I’m not sure if theirs grew at all. They did feel immense pride and ownership in our melon patch.

And how did you plan today’s lunchtime melon distribution?

Two years ago Dusty Harshman and I did something very similar with kale, where we made kale chips. So I just used what was modeled to me and tried to add to the lunch schedule instead of interrupting it. So thanks to the volunteers that came out to help today (thanks volunteers!) we were able to give every student at the school an opportunity to taste the melon either grown in our garden or supplemented from the grocery store.

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Photos by Torie Camp and Jennifer Potter-Miller


October Garden Work Day at Maplewood is All About the Mulch

Maplewood families and UT volunteers spent the morning of Saturday, October 8 tackling the second half of a mountain of mulch delivered in September by AISD. We moved several cubic yards to the root zone of the 200+ year old oak tree in the school courtyard, and used it to protect several other trees along the interior of the school. We also removed some overgrown agave to make room for more kid-friendly plants, detangled an invasive vine growing all over the courtyard’s rose bushes, trimmed branches hanging low over walkways, and gave two more picnic tables a fresh coat of paint. Thank you to all our great volunteers for another great garden work day!

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Garden Work Day October 8 at Maplewood

Maplewood families and community volunteers will meet on campus on Saturday, October 8 9am-12p.m. for another garden work day. Our priorities include:

  • moving the giant pile of mulch to our trees, where it can get to work keeping them healthy
  • moving the four picnic tables we painted a few weeks ago to the hill behind the Maplewood Playhouse
  • painting the four remaining picnic tables needing a facelift
  • weeding and repairing 2 or 3 classroom vegetable gardens

We had such a successful work day in September and hope to keep the momentum going cleaning up our campus after the construction that took place over the summer!

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    Photo credit: J. Potter-Miller


Maplewood Families Clean Up Campus on September Garden Workday

By Periwinkle Schuster

The Maplewood Gardens first workday of 2016 was September 17th and it was not only a success but also such fun! Previous to our workday we took time to walk the campus and assess the state of the trees with the AISD forester. After the construction over the summer, many trees were damaged and in an ill state. She aided Mrs. Jacobson and our gardening team in securing many yards of valuable mulch to restore the trees we can.

On our workday many Mustangs and their families enjoyed jumping from the huge mulch pile and hauling it across the campus to protect and restore our lovely trees. We set many goals for the day and accomplished almost every one!

  • We cleared overhanging brush and limbs in the walkways, cleared the overgrown grapevines choking out the antique roses in the courtyard and enriched the state of our serene pond.
  • The butterfly garden outside the library was freed from the nasty hackberry and chinaberry over-taking and killing the pollinator plants.
  • The hedge that was obstructing the school sign on 38th street was trimmed and soon to be mulched.
  • The newly painted Peace Path on the north side of the playground was swept clear after being buried in construction dirt and edged to allow the walkway to be safe and peaceful again.

It was a huge team effort of beautiful proportions preparing the raised grading beds for the each classroom. Clearing the weeds, organically waging war on the fire ants and repairing the beds was such a success! The gardening team taught about Hugelkultur and the benefits of permaculture. Last but certainly not least, our students and their siblings painted a new garden sign and butterfly house. Look for it at the greenhouse just north of the blacktop against the main building. It is super Mustang cool! Congratulations Mustangs on a job well done!

The children in each classroom are eager to begin planting seedlings and seeds for their fall edible gardens. Can you help them? Our children’s teachers need volunteers to help plant their raised gardening beds. It’s easy. It takes less than an hour from beginning to end and the rewards just grow and grow! We have resources for you! Seeds, compost, seedlings, tools and books to borrow, gardening advise and more.

There’s always more gardening and grounds work to do! I promised to make a double batch of rice crispy treats for our next workday scheduled for October 8th! Please join us – even if you can not move dirt or pull weeds we welcome your support and encouragement! It really is a fun time, a great way to meet other Maplewood families, help our school and students and meet the principles challenge to volunteer at Maplewood Elementary school. Your invited! Let’s Grow Together!

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Photos by Jennifer Potter-Miller