Working Our Way to the Water
Villa Academy offers our students something no other area school can: a magnificent campus that abounds with whole-child learning opportunities. Along with the lawns, orchard, and majestic trees, our grounds include a 31-acre undeveloped parcel of land leading to 600 feet of Lake Washington shoreline. The 2014 Auction Fund-a-Need, Working our Way to the Water, offered an exceptional chance to engage kids in hands-on, experiential learning. Starting “at the top” and working our way down, components included:
The Greenhouse: a polycarbonate professional-grade greenhouse was installed, complete with hardscaping, near the organic garden. From preschool gardening, to 1st grade insect study, to 3rd grade’s Life Lab science program, to increased sustainable gardening by Villa’s Green Team, the Greenhouse will truly facilitate learning in many ways.
The Restoration: Villa has entered a long-term partnership with EarthCorps (think PeaceCorps for the environment) who have GIS-mapped our undeveloped property and conducted an ecological assessment. Our woodlands are a true habitat for birds, animals, and plants, but the trails were degraded, invasive species were choking native growth, and the wetlands were unprotected. EarthCorps provided a phase-one Restoration Action Plan to guide work from the top edge of the woods to the grotto. Since spring 2014, students have been actively engaging with EarthCorps volunteers (who are emerging environmental leaders from over 60 countries) in numerous restoration and educational activities during school days. Trails have been improved so that students of all ages and their teachers have improved access.
The Grotto 2.0: Built over 80 years ago, the Villa Grotto was in a woeful state of disrepair and required rebuilding by expert stoneworkers skilled in “dry-stacking.” Now that the grotto—part of our historic and spiritual tradition—has been rebuilt, our community is using it for quiet reflection, circle or story time, and class activities.
You made our vision a reality! You also made history as Working our Way to the Water became our most successful Fund-A-Need ever!