Spent all day Saturday with students, parents, teachers and staff at the North Shore Middle School in Glen Head for the second phase of the great outdoor-classroom project.

Together, we planted: 12 Ilex crenata trees, 10 flanking each row of the seating area and two flanking the teachers platform; a climbing hydrangea and blue clematis at the base of a large arbor; three redtwig dogwood shrubs at the top of a hill, where their striking winter branches will be visible from the glass hallway in the school at the bottom of the hill; lots of sod; and  more than 500 Ajuga "Chocolate chip" groundcover plants. This is in addition to the landscaping around the existing pond, which was done during the first phase.

PHOTOS: North Shore Middle School's new outdoor classroom

Aside from the beautifully professional-looking results, what amazes me most is how the community came together to volunteer their precious Saturdays (and hand tools, a Bobcat and rototiller) to make it all happen.

In addition, architect Sanford Berger donated his time and muscle designing the plans and leading the construction efforts, Mario Fischetti Nursery of Glen Head provided supplies at discounted prices, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County donated the use of a master gardener (that would be me) to design the landscaping, select plants and lead the planting team, and Sal Comitino of the Brookville Deli donated food and beverages for the troops. 

>>Read about phase 1

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A father-daughter team uses a Bobcat to excavate an area for the outdoor classroom at the North Shore Middle School in Glen Head.

Volunteers plant groundcover on the site.

Community volunteers work on landscaping. 

The view of the new outdoor classroom at the North Shore Middle School in Glen head, looking up the hill, past the arbor, over the teachers platform and at the seating area.