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NJLCA Builds Outdoor Classroom and Sensory Garden for Special Needs School
By Gail Woolcott, director of operations, New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association

Volunteers from several different companies are shown working on the hardscape portion of the project at The Forum School. Members of the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association donated materials and installation services at the school, located in Waldwick, New Jersey.

The completed project featured an outdoor classroom, raised planting beds, balance beam, talk tube, sensory plantings and areas for students to use for their own planting.

The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association has just completed its 2015 Day of Service project at The Forum School, located in Waldwick, New Jersey. The Forum School is a private, non-profit, non- sectarian day school for students with autism and other neurological dysfunctions. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on October 2 with press and media welcomed.

Each year, members of the NJLCA volunteer their time and donate equipment and materials for their Day of Service project to help children in local communities. This year, The Forum School was chosen for the association's project. The inspiration for the project came from Danielle Goldstein, an occupational therapy assistant major at Eastwick College, and daughter of Rich Goldstein, Treasurer of the NJLCA. The school requested a sensory garden to help teachers educate students about the different senses, using plant material with different colors, textures and scents and garden structures including a pondless water fountain and colorful talk-tube for sound. NJLCA took it one step further and built an entire outdoor classroom, including built-in seating and raised planters.

NJLCA executive director Jody Shilan designed the project. "Our members really enjoy working together and giving back to local communities," said Shilan. "These projects truly are a labor of love and I am always so impressed with the generosity of our association members."

Brian Detlefsen, principal of The Forum School said: "When we first saw the plans, we expected a nice, colorful perennial garden for our students and teachers. However, now that the project is complete, we are amazed at how beautiful the outdoor classroom is. We can't wait to start using it."

The association prides itself on the generosity and professionalism of its members, who have donated over $500,000 in goods and services to New Jersey communities during the past several years. These volunteer projects include the renovation of the Charles Mastik Memorial Little League Field, Little Ferry, N.J. in 2014, Schulteis Farm, Clifton, N.J. in 2012, Ho-Ho-Kus School in 2011, Fairview 9/11 Memorial in 2011, Eisenhower Middle School, Wyckoff, N.J. in 2010 and No-Be-Bos-Co Boy Scout Camp, Blairstown, N.J. in 2009.

The New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, a non-profit, trade association for landscape contractors, has been encouraging professional standards and promoting the green industry for nearly 50 years and is a valuable resource to the contractor and industry. The association is dedicated to advancing the integrity, proficiency and personal growth of the landscape professional.

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May 26, 2019, 3:11 pm PDT

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