Green Team Update – October 16

Update on playground redesign project – the “DROPS” grant:

StopWaste (the fiscal sponsor for the grant) is in conversation with the State Water Board (the DROPS grantor) and OUSD about grant logistics and timelines. (Phase one of the asphalt removal will take place summer 2017.) And the Trust for Public Land (TPL) is continuing conversation with Stopwaste regarding these timelines and to help us connect to other grants needed for the hardscape and softscape installations needed above what the DROPS grant will provide (asphalt removal and water capture systems). It was TPL that obtained a grant for us to pay for our design charettes and the concept design plans by Miller Company Landscape Architects (completed in Spring 2016).

GT Fundraising:

We discussed ways in which the Melrose Leadership Grow (MLA’s grant-writing team) can assist the GT with MLA’s playground re-design efforts. Glori Simmons said she and Danielle Gerena (the Grow Chair) can liaison with the GT in this effort. We proposed that Grow establish a shared spreadsheet online so both the Grow team and the GT Co-chairs can track prospective playground re-design funders, what grant proposals are underway (or being considered), who is the lead, etc. to coordinate our efforts.

Updates on Grants:

a) $8,000 Shade Structure grant from American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD):

Glori said the Grow team has put in a lot of research to fulfill the AAD’s engineering requirements that are California-earthquake-specific to install the shade structure. Unfortunately, it’s an additional $12,000 to get the engineering permits to install such a structure under the AAD’s grant requirements. We have one more lead to follow to see if this is possible to pull off, but it’s looking unlikely by the 12/31/16 deadline. (This deadline was extended from the original Sept. 2016 deadline.) It is unfortunate that the structure would cost more to have certified, than either the grant amount, or the cost of the structure itself. This makes it cost prohibitive. This is a good reminder that before we submit any grant proposals (whether for Green Team or other projects at MLA) we need to carefully research the grant requirement/restrictions to see what obligations MLA would be responsible for to fulfill the grant before we apply.

b) Imagination Playground equipment :

The Imagination Playground set is on campus awaiting a proper storage location so we can begin using it with the kids. It is large and requires a secure and protected storage location. The storage shed for this playground equipment (big foam building blocks) will be built by a construction class at Fremont High School. MLA will be partnering with them to construct a shed for us that can be assembled on the MLA campus at a future date. This is an exciting ongoing partnership.

c) Lowe’s grant for Outdoor Classroom :

The outdoor classroom shed materials and labor were donated by construction company DPR, so we are using Lowe’s funds for materials to outfit the inside of the shed (such as white board, peg board, plastic shelving, plastic storage bins, tools). This grant will also pay for materials for the Imagination Playground Shed. We also have some GT funds set aside for this purpose.

d) Annie’s Naturals (food company):

This is a new grant request that Grow is writing… for a seed library, more trowels, other tools?

Garden Coordinator/Environmental Educator (GC/EE):

We discussed with Glori to put in a word with the Grow team that the need for funding to pay for an environmental educator is a top GT priority. This person would lead outdoor instruction for kids in all grades, and can tie the garden experience into classroom curriculums. Plus teachers will gain some extra prep time…(if the GC/EE is credentialed so can be alone with kids?) If we find this GC/EE person soon, they can help with the vision and development of the playground re-design project and can provide a valuable insight for tweaking design plans to fit with curriculum needs, realistic goals. First step: We need a job description for this role. Secondly, we need to discuss with the PTSA that the PTSA fundraises to support music instruction, field trips and supplies for teachers, so perhaps it can prioritize (if we raise enough funds!) support for a GC/EE as well (as do many other school PTSAs) Perhaps we can also bring in horticulture students from Merritt College to assist the GC/EE?

GT Expenses

We have budgeted GT funds to purchase new work gloves for the service days in a variety of adult and child sizes, a new hose and a new hose cart. We discussed getting an expert arborist for a fee from GT funds and/or pro bono (ideally) from Merritt College to get trees trimmed properly which the District doesn’t do well. If you know an experienced arborist who might be interested in helping us out, tell Kim! For service day food, the events will likely be “bring something to share” events. GT and PTSA will provide basic snacks and drinks. PTSA might sponsor a pancake breakfast for the end-of-year May 13 Community Service Day. (The PTSA sponsored pancakes for our October 22 service day – thanks!)

Community Service Day, Oct 22, 9am to 1pm

Tasks accomplished:

  1. Outfitted the outdoor classroom shed with peg board and shelves. Arranged Outdoor Classroom area in prep for planting.
  2. Affixed window screen mesh over the openings of the “ollas” – water jugs submerged beneath the soil in the vegetable beds – to prevent kids from putting dirt and debris (trash/wood chips) into the ollas.
  3. Prepped and primed wood for vegetable bed signs.
  4.  Planted additional plants to fill out planter boxes on playground. Added new shrubs/succulents in landscaped area in front of school (Monticello/Fleming).
  5. Cleaned and organized kitchen cupboards, backstage area, storage areas and accomplished various teacher requests.
  6. Litter pick-up, weeding, general clean-up

Bi-lingual Community Service Day helper needed:

We are in need of one (or a few) bi-fluent parent volunteer(s) to assist on MLA community service days (March 4 and May 13, 9am to 1pm both days) to provide basic communication with monolingual Spanish speaking families, answer their questions, etc. Are you able to do this or can you suggest someone we can approach?

Green Team Co-Chairs:
Kim Walker
(510) 827-0138

Ro Ratkiewich
(510) 761-1462

Notes written by:
Nommi Alouf
(510) 599-5533