project leader
Simona J
121 East 3rd Street
Manhattan (East Village)
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First Planter Built

the project

After an extensive construction project, the STAR Academy is poised to take on the next phase of restoring our school by establishing a school garden. Our school once housed a beautiful garden where students and families were surrounded by nature.  However, during the construction, the school was unable to maintain these areas.  After four years, the construction has finally ended and the scaffolding has been removed showcasing a beautifully restored building.  Our goal, together with our building co-share The Neighberhood School, is to rebuild a green space that provides students (and their families) with opportunities to interact with their natural environment, reinforce classroom learning, and enhance activities that build upon our inclusive community spirit.


the steps

Our school established a green team, which will work together with teachers, students and administration from both schools to develop the garden design.  Classroom teachers will work with students to develop recommendations regarding which vegetables, herbs, and flowers should be planted in the garden.  The green team and school staff will ensure that suggestions are incorporated from every grade level during the planting phase of the project.


Green team members will develop connections with groups like GrowNYC, Seeds for Life, and local nurseries to secure no-cost resources and to gain valuable knowledge and training regarding this effort.  In addition, the team will raise awareness by creating flyers and other promotional materials as well as  speaking with parents in classrooms and PTA meetings to recruit a cadre of volunteers for the project.  


why we're doing it

We want to set up an outdoor classroom. Seating for academic instruction will also be created providing endless opportunities for integrating our curriculum areas.  These spaces will allow students to make observations and analyze their natural world but also serve to introduce topics such as nutrition and healthy food choices.   As the curriculum expands, we will explore and grow other plants and flowers in these areas.

Students will have the opportunity to develop gardening best practices by visiting local gardens and farms.  Younger students will have the opportunity to explore community gardens such as the Children’s Magical Garden or Governors Island Teaching Garden while older students will visit a farm such as the Queens County Farm.  These trips will serve to deepen their understanding about gardening, but most importantly, make connections to the larger world.


Part of our outdoor classroom, we are looking for the following:
10 benches for Seating for outdoor classroom $179 each
2 Tables for activities like harvesting $300 each
1 Outdoor easel $100
6 Clipboards set $15 per set
Materials for signage $200
15 Kids tool set for the students to plant and harvest $20 each
15 Student Gardening gloves $8 each
6 Adult gardening gloves $20 each
4 Adult gardening tool set $20.00 each
10 Buckets For harvesting and weeding $14 each
10 Watering cans $10 each

SUBTOTAL = 3,000
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $90

Disbursement budget:

RAISED = $2,603.00
 less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $74.80

Black Kow 40-lb Organic Top Soil (1 cu ft) 100 $2.98 $298.00

Black Velvet 40-lb Organic Compost (1 cu ft) 100 $4.24 $424.00

6-cu ft Sphagnum Peat Moss 3 $12.47 $37.41

Sta-Green 8-quart Vermiculite 60 $4.48 $268.80

Gravel 52 $4.62 $240.24

Quickrete 50# Play Sand 2 $4.45 $8.90

Suncast Covington Gable Storage Shed (Common: 7-ft x 4-ft; Actual Interior

Dimensions: 6.84-ft x 3.67-ft) 1 $529.00 $529.00

Garden Signs 10 $20.00 $200.00

Life Lab Curriculum 1st 1 $79.95 $79.95

Life Lab Curriculum 2nd 1 $79.95 $79.95

Life Lab Curriculum 3rd 1 $79.95 $79.95

Life Lab Curriculum 4th 1 $189.00 $189.00

Life Lab Curriculum 5th 1 $189.00 $189.00

Life Lab Curriculum k 1 $75.95 $75.95

8 class trips to Governor's Island x $50 =$400

Disbursement Budget 2:

RAISED = $100.00
less ioby Platform Fee  waived
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $2.91



First Planter Built

Our intrepid buidler, Karen from TNS, has built the first 3' x 3' elevated planter!  12 more 3' x 3' to build! But that's only the beginning!

Introducing the Garden Plan

Here are two of our parents explaning the concept behind the garden plan!

We can't wait to bring this plan into reality!

Mapping out the Garden Lab

Today, Emilie, Shannon, Simona and Karen mapped out the "garden lab" side of the courtyard. We were joined by Freddy and David who helped with measuring and moving things around and Star Principal Darlene came out as well. It was super exciting to see the layout in real life! See photos (thanks Freddy!) here:


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Anonymous
  • Debbie & Jeff
  • Simona C Jansons
  • Anonymous
  • Janice O
  • STAR Academy Parents
  • Match Contribution, Randi Seigel
  • Anonymous
  • Randi E Seigel
  • For Ms. Alice
  • Carmen's Family