The day began at 10 a.m. with the first stop being at the Route
66 Park in downtown Atlanta. There, members of the Flower Buds were
selling tickets to the tour and handing out programs that gave brief
explanations of each of the homes guests would visit.
Including the stop at the park, there were ten locations plus
PrairiErth Farm in rural Atlanta that was added after the programs
were printed. Of the 11 total, three were inside city limits, and
three were located in the country, just outside of town.
At the park, the members of the Flower Buds also talked about the
work they do around about Atlanta. The club does all the plantings
and potted plants in the park, but they have a large space near the
Atlanta Fire Department they take care of and several other smaller
projects scattered about the town.
They noted that the money they raised on Saturday was for no
particular project, but would assist in purchasing plants for future
For those who may never have been, the Route 66 Park is the walled
in green space across the road from the Atlanta Public Library. It
is a very well-groomed setting with historical items such as the
ceramic drinking fountain installed in 1934, and the 1870 marker
stone for the Atlanta school. There are picnic tables in the park
and plenty of shade, making it a pleasant place to be, even on a
very hot day.
The next stop on the tour was the Olympia School, where students in
grades Pre-K through fifth care for a garden ten months of the year,
including when school is not in session in the summertime.
The garden was started in 2000 by teacher Sandra Snyder. Snyder
wanted to give her students an opportunity to observe nature and
work at maintaining a growing project. The garden was designed as an
attraction for butterflies. In 2003, Snyder retired, and a special
plaque was placed at the garden commemorating her contribution to
the school and the students.
[to top of second column]
Today, the garden is supervised by Laura Simonton. Simonton said
there are approximately 70 students who participate in the garden
project, and she noted that some are so dedicated to it, that they
go weeding during their recess time.
In addition, it is also a nature learning project for all the students, Simonton
pointed out that the fourth-graders taking care of and observing the changes in
the garden fulfills a requirement of the Illinois Education Standards.
Simonton said that their portion of the fundraiser would go to the club’s
fencing project. She noted that while the split wood fence looks as it should,
it is very weak and shaky and poses a safety hazard for the children.
The goal is to replace the fence with a vinyl one. This spring the school
received a grant from the Atlanta Betterment Fund for the project, so the money
earned on Saturday will be added to that. She said the school district has also
offered to match funds so with each dollar received they come closer to having
the new fence they need.
Simonton noted that many of the parents also support the garden through
donations of various items. Specifically, she noted some heavy rubber edging
that was given to the garden.
Inside the garden, there are a variety of plants in small beds, and it is well
adorned with lawn ornaments that reflect the life and personality of a child.
The center of the garden features two large benches where visitors can take a
seat and enjoy their surroundings. Simonton noted that the Atlanta Betterment
Fund had also played a large part in having those benches at the park.