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Renfrew Institute's new garden taking shape

August 24, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- Renfrew Institute's four-square garden is growing to allow more children to use it.

Officials from Renfrew Institute joined Monday morning with colleagues from Renfrew Museum & Park for a groundbreaking ceremony for a 66-foot-by-66-foot garden to replace the smaller one used since 1995. The older one's slope started causing problems with maintenance and guest access.

GRC General Contractor Inc. of Waynesboro donated work on the new garden, which officials said will be ready for planting next spring and summer. Volunteers are being asked to move plants from the old garden under the supervision of master gardeners.

"I think it's vital and beautiful from the fact it's one of the main teaching tools," Renfrew Institute President John Schall said, talking about the institute's work with schoolchildren.

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Approximately 1,200 children a year participate in the program that includes studies of the Pennsylvania German four-square garden. Second-graders plant vegetables in each of the four beds, which are separated by a cross path.

The Royer and Fahnestock families who made their home at the park's site centuries ago probably had a four-square garden, Cultural Studies Director Sherry Hesse said.

"The fence was practical in that it kept wandering farm animals from getting into the garden," she said.

"Renfrew Institute at Renfrew Park continues to be an absolute leader in our area in providing environmental education," Washington Township (Pa.) Manager Mike Christopher said, saying the garden is just one example of the institute's combined focus on history and environment.

In addition to GRC General Contractor, donors included the late J. Edward Beck Sr. and the Paul K. and Anna E. Shockey Family Foundation.

While making remarks on behalf of her family, Marie Lanser Beck called the garden a "tangible and visible history." She joked about the heavy equipment that will be used to excavate the new site.

"Wouldn't the Royers and Fahnestocks have fun with that?" she asked.

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