Before last month, the courtyard in the center of was an afterthought.
The space, which teachers in the original wing of the building can access from their classrooms, didn't have much available for teachers or students.
But in the last two months, the space has been transformed into an outdoor classroom, garden and space for the entire school community.
The project has been three years in the making, said parent volunteer Clare Walker. A total of $17,000 has been donated or invested in the project.
In October 2010, students installed raised planting beds that some classrooms started using for growing vegetables and herbs as part of an Eagle Scout project. A mosaic of recycled glass was created by students, a pumpkin patch was started by kindergarteners and a compost bin was added.
Also last year, picnic tables, bird feeders and a weather monitoring station were added.
This spring, work started on brick and stone pathways throughout the courtyard, as well as additional beds for planting.
The school's PTA organized a majority of the fundraising, but other organizations and businesses also donated. The Chesapeake Bay Trust donated items.
Over spring break this year, volunteers helped plant grass and lay the final materials for the pathways. For the past month, students from every classroom have come out in shifts to plant vegetables and flowers in the garden. In all, every student in the school will have planted an item or contributed to the renovations in the courtyard, Walker said.
"The kids are really excited to be out here," said Walker, who has been at the school most days coordinating the plantings.
On a recent school day, first grade students from Amanda Winpigler's class were outside planting. She said she already is planning activities next year to do in the courtyard with her classses.
Before the students went out to plant, Winpigler talked with them about how they were leaving their mark on the project whie helping the environment.
"I think it's amazing that each child will have been able to plant or contribute something," she said.