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Scott Elementary, volunteers team up for Earth Day service project

ATLANTA (CW69 News at 10) -- Volunteers with several organizations joined students at Atlanta's Scott Elementary School for Earth Day. They completed a service project to celebrate the day, as well as news of the school earning a STEM certification.

There's nothing unusual about students engaging in fun and educational activities at Scott Elementary, but they'll tell you Earth Day 2022 was extra special.

Volunteers from several organizations, including Macy's, Trust for Public Land, Trees Atlanta, Cox Communications, and Hands on Atlanta, did some digging and shoveling to create a community garden.

"They took time out of their day to come and help us build and kind of like reconnect our school and make it a better place for the environment," said Christian Marshall, a fifth-grader.

Cheryl Jones-Allie spearheaded the project.

"I'm an educator of over 20 years, but I'm also a breast cancer survivor, so for me, building this garden is personal," she said.

Volunteers installed a fenced-in garden on one side of the school and another one inside the courtyard. Students couldn't wait to plant the first seeds. They helped volunteers assemble the planter boxes, they painted benches, and some, like third-grader Riley Hill, helped build birdhouses.

"We are going to make the long stick on the ground and put the bird's house on the top," Riley said, explaining the next steps.

"Macy's is actually getting involved with the Trust for Public Land. It's a brand-new partnership that we got," said Macy's Senior Director of HR, Financial and Associate Systems Oliver Koehler, who came with 20 fellow Macy's employees who work in various roles.

The school is now certified in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).

"We're out here today, on Earth Day, to not only celebrate the earth but to celebrate the recent STEM certification that Scott Elementary received," said Jay Wozniak, the Georgia program director for the Trust for Public Land.

The certification was something that thrilled school officials.

"We're not just teaching you science and engineering, landscaping, and those things. We want you to build something and take these skills, the lot that you've been giving, and pour back into the community," said Scott Elementary Principal Langston Longley.

Organizers say the service project is more than about just planting a garden, it's about students planting the seeds of success.

"There's so much that's gonna come from this garden, including every academic area that they need to achieve," said Jones-Allie.

School officials say this is the first of many student community projects to come.

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