In July, volunteers from all over the world came to stay at River Rock School to make some needed improvements to Blanchard Park, the two acre wooded hillside area off Wilder Street that River Rock students often use during outdoor time. The International Volunteers for Peace, in cooperation with the Montpelier Parks Department, raised the steep and slippery hillside trail and built extensive drainages to shed water off of the trail. This included moving about 2 tons of rock by bucket up the hill along with hundreds of buckets of gravel.
River Rock parents and kids joined the volunteers on Saturday, July 13th to make the effort a true partnership. Alongside the volunteers parents helped move the buckets fire line style, pound in wooden stakes to shore up the sliding hillside, dig drainage and gladly enjoy cookies and other goodies made by area neighbors. Families and teachers hosted a welcome dinner for the students and a barbeque at RRS co-director, Allison Caldwell’s home. During their stay, the volunteers were able to get a taste of what Vermont has to offer. While not working in the Montpelier Parks, they ventured out to do some hiking, swimming, kayaking and even some contra dancing.
River Rock kids and teachers are grateful to have a safer place to engage in outdoor play and the beginnings of a natural playground. In addition to taking advantage of nature’s innate ability to elicit curiosity, creative play and general well being, River Rock plans to take advantage of the area for environmental science exploration.