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Bath, ME (January 5, 2021) – After saying goodbye to 2020, Dike-Newell School (DNS) school counselor Natalie Dean is helping students face 2021 with hope in their hearts through the power of plants.
“I wanted a way to connect with students and address the fact that things are really different this year, and that ‘different’ can be really hard,” she said. “I want them to know that it’s OK to feel sad, worried, or angry about the changes COVID has brought. It’s also important to remember that it’s not forever.”
Dean knew that a tangible action would have the greatest impact on children, so she came up with the idea to plant a new garden in front of the school – around the flagpole, to be exact – so that it would be viewable to everyone visiting DNS. As for what to plant, Dean decided on daffodils; a perennial flower planted by bulb in the fall.
“Bulbs have always reminded me of hope. We plant them as the cold, dark, winter approaches, but they hold this promise of the spring and the warmth and light that will return,” she said.
The school purchased bulbs from Beth Hawkes' Farm & Greenhouse before Halloween. Dean coordinated with teachers to ensure that every student who was at school (and even staff members) were able to participate in the planting. She said that the students enjoyed the project; for some, it was their first time planting anything at all.
“I still have kids asking me when they will come up. It’s a good exercise in patience and waiting. I tell them to imagine what it will be like when they bloom in the spring. Hope is like that; it exists in our imagination – imagine how wonderful it’s going to be when it happens.”
Dean anticipated the bulbs will bloom in April.
“The daffodils should come up every year; they will be a lasting reminder of our resilience during a very challenging year,” she said.
Photo: Mrs. Gallant’s Kindergarten class planting bulbs (photos courtesy of Leslie Gallant.)