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Volunteer makes table for Renfrew garden

September 27, 2012
  • Andy Rovelstad custom-built this table and installed it in Renfrews Pennsylvania German four-square garden. The table allows students in wheelchairs to participate in garden-related activities during Renfrew Institute school programs.
Submitted photo

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Thanks to a new, custom-built table, area school children who rely on the use of a wheelchair are able to fully participate in Renfrew Institute’s Pennsylvania German four-square garden program activities.

Andy Rovelstad of Waynesboro built the table and installed it in the garden this spring, after learning of the need for such a table from Renfrew Institute faculty member, Doris Goldman.

“Doris showed me a photo of a similar table. That’s all I need to make anything, a picture and a couple of dimensions,” Rovelstad, a retired engineer and lifelong woodworker, said in a news release.

The sturdy table is constructed of unfinished natural cedar, which weathers well and blends with the garden’s picket fence. Mounted on concrete blocks hidden under the soil, the table was sanded smooth to prevent splinters, and designed to enable students in wheelchairs to do garden activities like transplanting and sorting seeds and plants.

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The garden is planted entirely by school children participating in Renfrew Institute’s Four-Squares school program. In addition to learning how important such gardens were to 19th-century Pennsylvania Germans, students practice hands-on activities including seasonal garden tasks (planting, watering, sorting, harvesting), and also learn concepts in historic preservation, farmstead culture, folklore, plant biology, natural history, ecology and environmental awareness.

Rovelstad, along with his wife, Maggie, is among the crew of garden volunteers who regularly tend the garden during spring, summer and fall.

Other volunteers this year include Maxine Beck; Audrey, Trey and Melissa Foreman; Mike Cannady; Gerti Hudson; Linda King; Conrad Naugle; Amber Naugle; Darlene Weddle; Leitha Rountree; Malee Cook; Li-Jen Wang and Mary Lou and Lew Thomas.

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