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A community garden with a dash of magic

June 12, 2018

Teacher showing children a garden For the past few years, students at Ryder Elementary have tended to their education in the community garden behind the school. This year, they have special visitors in the new Fairy Garden.

“They’re kind of like the elves at Christmastime,” Ryder Pre-Kindergarten teacher Linda LaCoppola tells her class. “If you touch them, their magic will go away.”

On a sunny Thursday in June, the students are finding it difficult to stay on the rock path that goes through the Fairy Garden. The Fairy Garden is a sight: a miniature house, a trellis and some daisies, cultivated by members of Girl Scout troop 2167.

picture of a fairy garden - bird house, trellis, flowers in mulch

After everyone gets a look, they go over to the soil beds to water the flowers and vegetables. Cobleskill-Richmondville Education Foundation helps buy the bedding plants, and the students get to choose what they’d like to grow. Every bed is maintained by a different Ryder class, and the kids take pride in their crop.

“The children learn cooperation, teamwork, and a lot about gardening,” said Mrs. LaCoppola. The work in the garden coincides with instruction on plant lifecycles, measuring and other science and math lessons.

“They get to see where their food comes from, and I think that farm-to-table lesson is important” said watering plants in a soil bed

The class began working in the garden around Earth Day, and LaCoppola tries to weave in lessons about environmental stewardship and the importance of community.

“There are so many people that help with this project. It truly makes it a community garden,” she said.

The school is looking for families and community organizations to help tend the garden during the summer months. If interested, please email Mrs. LaCoppola at

Category: News, Ryder