MIDDLEPORT — Veterans from five Lockport-based organizations have volunteered their time to build two lending libraries for the Royalton-Hartland Elementary School campus just as the 2021-2022 school year begins.

Members of American Legion Post 410, VFW Post 2535, Marine Corps League of Lockport, Navy Club of Lockport Ship 110 and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 268 came together under the guidance of contractor Dan Dudek to build the two lending libraries, which are part of a district-wide initiative to create outdoor learning spaces associated with all subjects including, but not limited to, agriculture.

One lending library will house books about pollinators and will be installed next to the future pollinator garden.

The other lending library will house small garden tools for the community and students to take care of the raised-bed gardens that were established on campus this past spring. 

"The Royalton-Hartland outdoor learning initiative is a large project with many moving pieces that will benefit the entire community,” said district superintendent Hank Stopinski. “It was an honor to have the helping hands and volunteer time of the veterans and Dan Dudek. In this case, the saying that ‘many community hands make light work’ especially rang true."

Over the past three years, with support from the Royalton-Hartland Agricultural Foundation and the Environmental Benefit Projects, the Roy-Hart district has embarked on an ambitious effort to infuse agriculture and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) education at every grade level, from K through 12.

Initial phase financing came through funds made available by FMC Corporation, per an agreement it has with the state Department of Environmental Conservation relating to remediation and environmental outreach in the Middleport area.

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