project leader
Mary B
916 J.W. Williams Avenue
(Carnes School Neighborhood)
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Thanks to our volunteers!

the project

Carnes Elementary School is a magnet school whose curriculum is focused on Environmental Science.  Our project will transform a vacant lot across the street from Carnes school into a beautiful garden that will also serve as an outdoor classroom for students at Carnes Elementary School.  

The lot at 916 J.W. Williams Avenue  represents many properties in the Carnes School neighborhood.  It is small, only 40 feet wide and 92 feet deep.  The soil is hard packed and dry from many years of neglect.  The demolition and disposal of a dilapidated home left a large depression in the center of the lot, and damaged the surrounding terrain.  Its uneven surface is studded with half buried pieces of brick and concrete. 

We plan to convert this lot into a tiny, balanced ecosystem where the students can observe the relationships between plants, insects, birds, and other animals in a natural environment.  We believe that the children of Carnes Elementary will love learning about the environment in this garden.

Our Carnes Garden partners are Steve Barlow, attorney, Beth Flanagan, Memphis Medical Center, Janet Boscarino, Clean Memphis, Ray Brown, architect and Mary Baker, city planner.

the steps

We will:

  • Survey and establish the boundaries of the garden
  • Build raised beds and fill them with fertile garden soil
  • Add a variety of plants selected to attract specific insects and birds, including nectar plants to help attract and support the endangered bee population, as well as hummingbirds
  • Install butterfly host plants to provide safe places for  butterflies to lay their eggs and children can learn of the beauty of these magnificent creatures and their astonishing life cycles
  • Include plants that produce edible fruits like fig trees and blueberry bushes that perform well in this climate
  • Enclose the garden with a handsome fence that invites visitors to enter the garden gate and explore its wonders
  • Ask the City of Memphis to reactivate the water service that fed the now demolished home, and install a hose bibb to provide irrigation for the garden plants.

We would like to begin by February 15, 2014 and complete the garden by June 15th.  This schedule will permit us to repair and restore the damaged terrain, build the walks and fence, plant native trees, build raised and other planting beds.

why we're doing it

We believe this garden will supplement the Carnes student's environmental science instruction in the classroom and their assigned reading in textbooks .

The children will understand more about what they hear and read because of their observations in this balanced, natural environment.

The garden will stimulate creativity as children will be inspired to draw and paint pictures of what they see.  We have included an art wall where these can be displayed.

This will be a model for teaching gardens that can be developed near schools throughout the City.

It will be an example showing that vacant, neglected lots in our neighborhoods can be reclaimed as beautiful and productive places.

It will be a demonstration of how we can restore our natural environment by improving the soil and using plants that are native to this area.


  • Survey and mark garden boundaries -- $100
  • Gravel path -- $300
  • 4 raised beds including good garden soil -- 1,200


    Total -- $1,600


SUBTOTAL = $1,600
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $80
3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $48

RAISED = $1,903.00
less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $88.95
less 3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $54.41

Budget Update, 3/31/2014

Phase 1 -- 

Survey and mark garden boundaries — $100

Gravel path — $300

4 raised beds including good garden soil — 1,400

Total — $1,800


Thanks to our volunteers!

Here’s what we accomplished yesterday with help from volunteers from the St. Jude Legal Department. They will be returning soon to help install another bed. ioby at work!

Jumping into action

We are jumping into action at Carnes Garden. Here are some of our recent and planned activities:
  • April 1st -- boundaries surveyed and marked
  • April 1st -- met on site with science teacher, Mark Owens and principal Renetta Sanders
  • April 3rd -- staked and marked the boundaries of 2 large planting beds
  • April 3rd -- marked the path of our future garden walk
  • April 7th - 9th and April 11th -- Carnes School Science Fair (Some of us will be volunteer judges)
  • April 15th volunteer event with St. Jude employees to build beds, fill them with good soil and put in plants

Thank you to our donors!


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • J. Ritchie Smith
  • Anonymous
  • Sara L. Hall
  • Janet Boscarino
  • Bart Jones
  • Anonymous
  • L. Taylor
  • Megan
  • Anonymous
  • Nicole & Cameron
  • E Roberds
  • Jimmie Tucker
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • Reb Haizlip
  • Beth Ray
  • glouria and Jimmy e.
  • Carmen's Sister
  • Memphis Medical Center
  • C. Echols
  • Reneta Sanders
  • Angela N.
  • S Newstok
  • Debra Kaufman
  • Tommy P
  • Judith Rutschman
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous
  • MW
  • Ray Brown
  • David & Virginia Garrett
  • Mary Baker
  • John D. J.
  • Cameron F.