By Victoria Espinoza

Students at Little Sprouts Preschool in Northport helped Earth Day blossom this year with a school project.

Amy Dolce, director at Little Sprouts, said she wanted to top the events she did last year with her students, which was also her first year as director.

“Last year we hatched butterflies in the school and released them on Earth Day, and we had a picnic in the park, but this time I wanted to do more,” Dolce said in a phone interview.

Dolce said she got in contact with William Forster at Northport Village Parks Department and asked if it would be possible to plant flowers somewhere in Cow Harbor Park.

Forster, the senior groundskeeper for Northport Village, said he and his colleagues help out with projects like this for Eagle Scouts, Girl Scouts and other groups, and he and colleague Kevin Kenney were happy to help with this one.

Little Sprout students smile and plant flowers in a Northport park for Earth Day. Photo from Amy Dolce

“It was fun to do,” he said in a phone interview. “We had some cobblestones lying around and we found a spot that was kind of bare [in the park] and we make our soil ourselves, from the foliage and leaves we collect in the fall. It worked out really nice. It’s looking awesome; they did a wonderful job.”

Dolce was grateful for the help Forster provided.

“Willy met me at the park the next day to try and find the right spot to plant some flowers,” Dolce said. “He was so nice; he ended up making us a flower bed and providing the soil for our project.”

Dolce and her students slipped on their rain gear last Friday morning and headed down to the park from their school at the Trinity Episcopal Church on Main Street in the village.

“Our three- and four-year-olds took turns planting pansies and enjoying a snack on the blanket,” she said. “Afterwards they played in the park — it was just a really fun day.”

She said the kids had a lot of fun, and weren’t afraid to get to work in the dirt.

“They loved it — until they found a worm,” Dolce said with a laugh. “One young girl dropped her shovel as soon as she found a worm.”

Little Sprout student and director Amy Dolce smile and plant flowers in a Northport park for Earth Day. Photo from Amy Dolce

The director said her favorite part was when she heard the following Monday morning how the kids had all gone down with their families to check on their flowers during the weekend at “Cookie Park,” the nickname they’ve given Cow Harbor Park after its proximity to Copenhagen Bakery.

“It brings a little ownership to the community and a sense of unity,” she said. “It was really a lovely experience. Now their flowers will always be there. They all live in the area, so they can continually check on them.”

Dolce said the idea has inspired her to start planning a fall trip back to their flower box to plant mums, as well as continuing this tradition for Earth Day next year.

“This was about teaching them to be good to Mother Earth,” Dolce said. “But I really loved seeing the camaraderie. These kids will now always have their flowers at Cookie Park.

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