Teacher seeking donations for spring service learning project

FORT KENT, Maine — A  Fort Kent educator is seeking donations for an annual service learning project because her students were unable to raise the money themselves this year, due to COVID-19. 

For 20 years, Tamar Philbrook’s third grade students have participated in the project which involves them learning about gardening before planting flowers. The flowered plants are then donated to various local health care organizations and placed at the Veteran’s Memorial in Fort Kent. The students alternate annually between two local greenhouses, Pelletier’s Florist and Corriveau’s Hilltop Blossoms. 

The students typically raise the money for the project themselves, but were unable to do so this year as school has been closed since March and large gatherings are prohibited. 

“It has always been an extremely important project. but this year it’s certainly even more so,”Philbrook said. “My students have been looking forward to this project since the start of school. Spring brings many opportunities to apply the learning and hard work they’ve done all year.” 

Every Fort Kent Elementary School third grade teacher and their students will participate in the project this year. 

“We all feel like the children need something positive and rewarding to end our year together,” Philbrook said. “It has been extremely emotional to be away from them and the children really don’t understand. 

“We have a community of incredible support and a commitment to the safety and health of all,” she continued. “Our community is proud and thankful for all of all the amazing health care employees. We hope the flowers will bring joy to the employees, patients, residents and the entire community.”

Philbrook said within four hours of posting her wish and application to the project raised nearly $1,000. 

“Typically our project costs around $1,300, but this year we need to replace a number of old and dilapidated barrels,” she said. “The extra money will come in handy.” 

Philbrook said she has worked in conjunction with Corriveau’s Hilltop Blossom to create a schedule that allows for the students to plant the flowers while also implementing social distancing.  

“I am confident that had this been the rotation for us to plant with Pelletier’s Florist, they would have done the same for us,” Philbook said. “Both greenhouses are incredibly generous and community oriented. We are blessed to live in such an amazing place.”

Planting will happen at the end of May.

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