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How does change come about in any institution, and specifically a school like Lehrman? How do great ideas come to life that benefit students, parents, visitors, and everyone who shares our environment? Sometimes it takes just one whisper to get it all started.

About a year ago Jessica Boyd, mom and volunteer extraordinaire, mentioned that it would be so great if we had some plantings, especially near the Early Childhood entrance, since so many people passed by there daily.

Like many ideas, it was met with well-meaning nods and an occasional wow by many of her listeners. Then she mentioned it to Suzy Wagner who was, at the time, the head of our PTC. Suzy knew someone who knew a thing or two about plants, namely Lehrman parent Paloma Marcoschamer of Plant the Future. Her reaction was more of an Aha moment, apparently.

From there it was synergy all over, and it spread to Kim Mendelson who was totally on board and then on and on to Janet Rapp who knows a thing about the Lehrman plant—not plants so much, but the Lehrman facility.

And finally with all this good energy going, ideas being what they are, and good ideas being especially infectious, things began to move and, if you’ll excuse the expression, grow.

Drawings blossomed and soon we had a proposal not of just some plantings, but a completely integrated re-do of the grounds around Lehrman and inside the fencing.

Clearly more resources would be needed to cover the ambitious plans, so the PTC, the Strauss family, the Marcoschamer family,  and Plant the Future stepped up. The results to everyone’s delight are beautiful.

They are also practical and curricular. Our fifth and third graders were assigned some research on the plants, and Plant the Future Manager Ben Noyes gave us a list of all the plantings used. Our science teacher, Hayley Mendelson, had her students research each of the plants in preparation for signage which will eventually adorn our garden, and they found that our plants are completely appropriate to our environment, most native to Florida or Florida-like environments with sandy soil, needing little water, much sun, and are safe around children and pets.

Our art club, under the direction of art teacher, Debbie Brown, and her assistant, Ms. Ingrid, spent time painting the flowering versions and created some lovely artwork to illustrate the catalogue that will eventually help those who will stroll through our garden as well.

We are looking forward to the dedication of our Lehrman Botanical Garden—an idea whose time has come indeed. Q

The plantings make a lovely backdrop for our kindergarten year-end photo.