Halsey’s Beyond Beautification Project

A current view from the 2nd floor  More photos to follow…stay tuned!!!

S. A. Halsey’s “Beyond Beautification” project

Our school possesses valuable green spaces that have been underutilized or even forgotten.  Those spaces include the areas around the perimeter of our school building, most notably surrounding the Main Entrance on 102nd Street, and the Halsey Garden located on 64thAvenue.

These spaces have not been used or maintained for years and this gives us the opportunity to create sustainable programs, which will do more than simply beautify our school.  At present plans are moving forward to accomplish more than improve the sanitary condition of our school grounds.  We are planning to create opportunities for students to get their hands dirty in “living classrooms”, which will provide them the experience of starting and caring for living things as well as a chance to show off what they have learned.  We plan to include a greenhouse to facilitate the growing of fresh produce for Halsey’s Cooking Club and our students learning life skills.  We have plans for a NY native plant garden, a butterfly/pollinator garden, a bio-dome garden (for the S.T.E.M. students’ bio-domes) and a culturally representative garden, which will include plants native to as many of our students’ countries of origin as possible in our climate.  The plans are being assembled with an understanding that Halsey’s Garden will also be a place for students in crisis or students receiving counseling to go with their counselors.

We will, as a community of students, parents and educators, create these spaces.  These are concepts for the beginning of this project.  There is room for more, much more.

Be on the lookout for the “Beyond Beautification” page on Halsey’s website…coming soon!

As with any project of this size we have needs.

  • Input
    • Your ideas and wishes are important to us.  This is a community project and we need community input.
    • Surveys are going to be sent out seeking this input.  We are hopeful that this may be achieved electronically.
  • Expertise and knowledge
    • We want you! to volunteer and share your knowledge and abilities.  If you have experience designing exterior spaces, growing and planting or have particular botanical or horticultural knowledge, please get involved.
    • If you possess a brown instead of a green thumb but know someone who does have a green thumb, please connect us to that person or organization.
  • Funding and donations
    • We are assembling a grant writing team.
    • We are working with the PTA, who have been very supportive and encouraging and have already provided valuable guidance.
    • There are several ideas being discussed regarding fundraising.  Please share any you may have.
    • We have already received some donations of materials and tools.  We certainly need more.  If you have it, we’ll gladly take it.

Any and all inquiries, ideas, comments or commitments to volunteer may be sent to Chris Weiss at cweiss6@schools.nyc.gov

These are images of the green spaces surrounding the front entrance of our school.  We are planning to improve these spaces to make the school feel more welcoming and inspiring through plantings and the display of student gardening efforts and the connection to their Science curricula.

These are images of the green spaces surrounding the front entrance of our school.  We are planning to improve these spaces to make the school feel more welcoming and inspiring through plantings and the display of student gardening efforts and the connection to their Science curricula.

As you can see in these pictures, the state of our garden space was depressing.  Buried in this massive growth of weeds and vines was an abundance of trash.  Many desirable plantings were choked out by the unrestrained growth of more vigorous plants.  Several of the trees died or were diseased.  It was impossible to see one side of the garden from the other.  If you look closely at the pictures, you might even see Tarzan swinging from tree to tree!

Here are some pictures of the Halsey Garden during our clean up endeavors.

Some initial clean-up was accomplished this Fall.  With help and guidance from Ms. Mevorach, we were able to clean out the trash, remove dead limbs from some trees, chop down diseased trees, clear pathways of weeds and even discover some plants that were hardy enough to survive the overgrowth.  The garden space is now clean enough and safe enough for students to work in this Spring!