Home ‘In its natural state’: Stuart Hall students prep pollinator garden in downtown Staunton
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‘In its natural state’: Stuart Hall students prep pollinator garden in downtown Staunton

Stuart Hall teacher Catherine Badalementi and Valley STUwards begin to create a pollinator garden in downtown Staunton. Photo by Rebecca J. Barnabi.

If you build it, the pollinators will come.

Students from Stuart Hall School yesterday began creating a pollinator garden to do their part to encourage the pollination and growth of flowers and plants just as habitat for pollinators is shrinking.

“It will just be in its natural state,” said Stuart Hall teacher Catherine Badalamenti of the garden. The co-curricular class is 8th grade to seniors who meet Tuesdays and Thursdays. They call themselves Valley STUwards.

The garden is in downtown Staunton between North Central Avenue and Lewis Street, behind Stuart Hall’s Eastham Center near City National Bank.

Most of the planting for the garden will be in fall 2024, but yesterday the students planted donated onion bulbs after they mulched and created two beds for the garden.

According to Badalamenti, Stuart Hall maintenance staff were weeding the area behind the center and unfortunately greenery was unintentionally also weeded.

“It turned out to be an opportunity,” she said.

The pollinator garden will contain native plants so they require little to no upkeep “and just let nature take its course.” Vegetables may also be planted later.

Benches will be donated from a local company and the hope is that students will come, sit and enjoy the garden.

“I think this is fantastic,” said Stuart Hall Head of School Jason Coady.

The students are learning about partnerships and philanthropy by seeing local business owners and community members work together toward a goal with them.

“The kids are learning. Pollinator gar

den, why it’s important in urban environments,” Coady said.

Valley STUwards: Stuart Hall students to aid pollinators with garden in downtown Staunton – Augusta Free Press

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.