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Normandy Elementary kids create haven for butterflies, birds

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By Vicky Gits

A hummingbird feeding center, a butterfly rest stop, a wind sculpture and an improved rock garden are part of a year-long beautification project at Normandy Elementary School.

On May 29, groups of kindergartners were busy working on handmade steppingstones decorated with pieces of broken pottery and glass. The stones will be used to form a solid surface around a magnificent 25-foot wind sculpture by artist Lyman Whitaker of Utah.

Spearheading the improvement projects were Cindy Fassell, a Normandy Elementary mom and chair of the beautification committee, and a group of six other Normandy moms: Sherri Bezzant, Susie Lee, Nicole Massa, Amber Buker, Sarah Kasser and Mary Perkins.

Fassell has a third-grader at Normandy and two other children at Columbine High School who are graduates of Normandy. She got the idea for the project after repeatedly seeing the wind sculpture for sale at Vail Village Arts.

The group raised $1,700 through a silent auction staged at the Schomp BMW dealership on C-470. The sixth-grade students, who are moving on to middle school, donated $400 as a legacy gift. The art gallery agreed to waive the $500 shipping charge.

The students were encouraged to paint river rocks, which parents purchased for $1 each.The rocks were used as a border for the tulip garden that replaced a plain pile of river rocks at the front of the school.

Fassell said the beautification committee came together as a result of school-district budget cuts that led to a reduction in maintenance staff.

A few years ago, three employees maintained the school and the grounds. Now, one person works as hard as he can, but can't do it all.

So the moms have pitched in and volunteered to pull weeds, pick up trash and wash windows and exterior walls in the portable classroom buildings before school starts.

"We are just trying to show … the school can be beautiful and make it look kid-friendly too," Fassell said.

Contact Vicky Gits at vicky@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.