100 reasons to go green

Rosemount Primary School principal Brendan Grant at the site of the proposed centenary garden project with pupils, from left, Tiernan Hutton, Bronagh Downey, Rebecca Harrigan and Eva Conaghan. (2402PG53)
Rosemount Primary School principal Brendan Grant at the site of the proposed centenary garden project with pupils, from left, Tiernan Hutton, Bronagh Downey, Rebecca Harrigan and Eva Conaghan. (2402PG53)

The work hasn’t even started yet but the children are already excited.

As part of their 100th anniversary celebrations the children at Rosemount Primary School in Helen Street have decided to mark the milestone year by creating their own centenary garden.

Rosemount Primary School centenary garden project organisor Teresa McKeever with pupils, from left, Oisin Lynch, nursery pupil Bradan Edwards and Ellen McGeady. (2402PG54)

Rosemount Primary School centenary garden project organisor Teresa McKeever with pupils, from left, Oisin Lynch, nursery pupil Bradan Edwards and Ellen McGeady. (2402PG54)

The project is being led by nursery assistant and gardening enthusiast Teresa McKeever.

“The children love working outside - we created two sensory gardens in the school a few years ago and they have been really successful,” said Teresa.

Each year group at the school is represented on the team and it’s hoped that the garden will be completed in May.

The layout of the centenary garden has been devised and finalised by the pupils at the school and the project is funded by H.S.B.C. bank. The school secured funding to the tune of almost £12,000.

“I’ve had my eyes on a piece of wasteland for a while now. The land in question backs on to Beechwood Avenue but I’ve no doubt that by the time we are finished we will have the biggest and best garden of any school in Derry,” smiled Teresa.

It’s hoped that the garden will contain an outdoor classroom, water feature, friendship benches and a place for the children to engage in a spot of bird watching.

Ten year-old primary six pupil Eva Conaghan is secretary of the school’s Eco Committee. Eva said that not only will the garden provide the children at the school with another place to play but it will help to teach them more about how to preserve the environment.

“The thing I am looking forward to the most is when the weather is good and we go outside to the new classroom. It would be lovely to be in a lesson in the middle of a garden - I can’t wait to see what it will turn out like.

“We have been taught all about the importance of recycling and saving energy, I think that the garden will help all of us to learn even more.”

Teresa, who discovered her love for gardening through her father and grandfather said that the reason she has so much passion is because she knows what benefits it can have on children.

“Sometimes when you’re in a bad mood, helping out in the garden can make you feel better. It also teaches the children all about the importance of team work, the environment and it also gives them the chance to leave a legacy at the school.

“The garden is hopefully going to be a place that will be enjoyed by many children of many different generations.

“I think that with this sentiment in mind it’s easy to see why some former pupils and their parents are keen to get involved. I also believe that the passion and positivity coming from all involved in the project is testament to just how amazing a school Rosemount PS is.”

The children’s fervour for the new project is humbling to say the least. There’s a sense they’re just honoured to have even been considered to help with the planning of the garden.

The youngest member of the group is four year-old Braden Edwards. Braden attends the school’s nursery. Although the garden only exists on paper he buzzes around the designated piece of land like a summer time bee. The look on his face conveys his excitement.

“I can’t wait to be able to sit and watch the birds. I love the birds, I like listening to their wee songs.”

Rebecca Harrigan is the oldest in the group. Rebecca is 11 years-old and is in primary seven; by the time the garden is complete she will preparing to leave the school.

“It’s a chance for some of the older pupils at the school to do something for younger children at the school. I am really excited and hopefully by the time it’s finished we will have some good weather.”

The group will meet with representatives from H.S.B.C. bank over the coming weeks and as soon as the plans are finalised they will work with local gardening expert and horticulture lecturer Gareth Austin to deliver the vision.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the children at the school to be involved in a unique project,” said Teresa.

“They’ll be meeting with people from the bank and putting their points across. It’s an amazing project and I couldn’t have asked for a more lovely bunch of children to help me out. The hard work starts now but everyone should watch this space.”

If you are a former Rosemount PS pupil or a parent and want to get involved contact Teresa McKeever on 028 7126 5605.