Students and staff at Dr. D. A. Perley Elementary School joined community leaders out for a long-overdue ceremony at the school’s Re-Wilding Centre Thursday, Oct. 7.
The outdoor classroom at the southeast corner of the school’s grass field has become a popular spot for journaling, drawing and science education, she said, according to teacher Sharon Peron, who emceed the ceremony.
“This has been a long time coming,” she told The Gazette, explaining that Pereley administrators had hoped to bring the community together for a show of thanks last fall.
The center was her brainchild, but Peron said it took a community to realize her vision.
Work got underway in the fall of 2018, when Peron said Roly Russell, then Area D director, encouraged her to apply for a grant from the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, whose $5,000 of “seed money” got the ball rolling. Ken Minette and Bob Chapman, Boundary School Superintendent and Perley principal at the time, were already onboard, she said.
Among a litany of community donors whose generosity moved the project forward, Peron gave special thanks to the Grand Forks Credit Union, whose $15,000 Fall Grant paid for building materials and plants in 2019.
Peron also thanked Perley’s Sarah Orlowski, Tree Canada rep Randy Trerise and the school district’s Carol Mitchell, whose botanical and artistic expertise went into the garden’s design.