By Brian Conlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
4:31 PM EDT, April 27, 2012
A chill wind swirled down Frederick Road Friday morning, but many Catonsville Elementary School students still managed to break a sweat as they landscaped the terrain around the school on Frederick Road.
Students celebrated Arbor Day by getting their hands dirty digging out weeds, sifting through dirt, mulching and tending to the tulip and daffodil bulbs already planted in the ground.
The students' work marked the first day of a two-day project sponsored by the PTA to beautify the school.
Funding for the project came from a $500 grant from Baltimore Gas & Electric and $800 from the school's PTA, said Janet Menke, the PTA's chairwoman of the landscaping committee and mother of Catonsville Elementary kindergartner Joy.
The BGE grant purchased three redbud trees and 10 sweetspire shrubs, Menke said, and the money the PTA raised was used to purchase 60 plants.
All but one of the species of trees, shrubs and flowers planted in front of the school is native to Maryland.
The landscaping project will also add about 60 coreopsis, lamb's ear, liriope and black-eyed Susan plants.
Menke said having native species will make the front easier to maintain.
"This would've taken the PTA about three hours," the school's librarian Rebecca Kaufman yelled as the crew of fourth-graders neared the end of their 50-minute work period just before 10 a.m.
Despite the students' productivity, Menke expected Saturday's PTA volunteers to have a full day in front of them as they finish the planting and mulching the students couldn't.
"I think it affects the morale of the people going to the school, having it look decent," Menke said. "Basically, it affects the whole look of the downtown business district."