Murray Meadow

We are thrilled to announce an exciting new learning initiative for our children!

Building on the success of Murray Farms, our three-year-old school garden, the Murray Avenue School Administration in partnership with Murray Avenue PTA has launched Murray Meadow: Center for Learning and Exploration. To be located adjacent to the 1st/2nd grade playground on the former site of the gazebo, Murray Meadow transforms an unused space into an outdoor amphitheater-classroom, pollinator garden, migratory bird habitat, compost area and eventually, a greenhouse. Murray Meadow further extends the physical space of the school, supporting curriculum delivery to all grades and providing for more authentic, hands on learning opportunities. In addition, Murray Meadow will beautify our school grounds and neighborhood, serving as a place where community members and families can gather to explore and enjoy the outdoors.

 

Murray Meadow is a hands-on, living laboratory for cross-curricular learning for all students, K-5 that includes:

  • Science, including STEAM initiatives
  • Social Studies, specifically maps and geography
  • Literacy –a source of inspiration and a site of celebration for reading and writing
  • Arts and Theater –sketching, performing and presenting.
  • Music – vocal and instrumental concerts and recitals
  • Environmental Stewardship utilizing native plants, preserving animal habitats, conserving water and composting
  • Health and Wellness integrating healthy eating and mindfulness practices

Murray Meadow includes:

Pollinator Garden

The pollinator garden, which provides food and shelter for butterflies, songbirds, insects and other pollinators, will meet the requirements to become a National Wildlife Federation CERTIFIED SCHOOLYARD HABITATS SITE. The site will be planted with native shrubs, grasses and flowers that provide seeds, fruits, berries and nectar to attract and nourish local pollinator helpers. In addition to food sources, plantings will provide the necessary cover and shelter and raising young to sustain the pollinator community.

Murray Meadow will be perfect for the study of life cycles. Butterflies are raised annually in first grade classrooms as part of the curriculum and would be released into the Meadow for observation and maturation. Likewise, as part of second grade curriculum, second graders can see the plant cycle up close, observing the lifecycle of plants from seed to mature adult and recording observations along the way.

Paths will wind through the pollinator garden to allow children the opportunity for close inspection of plant and insect populations (see drawing). In grades K-2, students can classify plants and animals and discover similarities and differences; they can determine the number of habitats and observe the plants and animals found in each; they can observe the pollination process and discover how specific plants depend on specific pollinators.

As a result of pollination, we are able to enjoy the nutritional benefits of fruits, berries and seeds. In grades 3-5, students will discuss the inter-dependence of life and species, which will be a springboard for discussions on healthy choices, both environmentally and nutritionally. Furthermore, the site will be a living laboratory for the study of ecosystems and life cycles, which is a direct curriculum connection.

Migratory Bird Habitat

Situated as we are between the Hudson River and Long Island Sound, Larchmont is a wonderful place to track and study migratory birds. Trees, grasses, and shrubs will provide a resting place and roosting site for our migratory friends, as well as those who live here year round.

As a STEAM initiative, students will design and build birdhouses and roosting boxes for cardinals, robins, wrens and martins. Students will research the many ways birds are beneficial to our garden community. Students will also hone their observation and math skills by identifying and counting bird species, and making population comparisons from fall to spring.

We plan to participate in International Migratory Bird Day in May, an event that highlights the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds from North America to South America. With this, bird migration connects to the 5th grade study of geography. Students will have the opportunity to create maps detailing migration patterns and research the characteristics of the origination and destination habitats.

Both the pollinator garden and bird habitat offer the students the opportunity to research and become expert on one of the many birds visiting the meadow and plants growing there. This type of research and non-fiction writing aligns with grades 1 and 2 units of study. The program will come full circle as students present and celebrate in the Theater in the Meadow. Students would use their research to create signage illustrating butterfly, bird and native plant populations. This would be a collaborative effort with Murray Avenue’s library and art departments.

Theater in the Meadow

An amphitheater built into the existing hillside with seating made from natural stone that had been used previously and remains at the site. Seating would be for at least 50, thereby accommodating a full size class and guests for such events as poetry readings, presentations, plays and concerts. The Theater in the Meadow will also provide a space for class picnics and workshops on gardening and environmental topics. The stage would also serve as a workspace for class projects, as well as an art and planting work area.

Compost Area

Every garden needs a composting area. The PTA Garden Committee will provide composters and leaf bins for the collection of compostable garden and greenhouse debris.

Murray Garden Gazette

Murray has published our first garden newspaper, the Garden Gazette! Mrs Dolan's fifth grade class worked with Jesse Dancy, the district technology coach, and the garden committee to put it together. It's was a great collaborative effort and a very informative result!

Murray Avenue PTA