Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School's Garden Wins Award Chimney Lakes Staffer's Project

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

School's Garden Wins Award Chimney Lakes Staffer's Project

Article excerpt

Nila's garden grows with 70 colorful plants and flowers. And

it's such an eye pleaser that it's won recognition from Duval

County school administrators.

Nila Gilley, who works in the cafeteria at Chimney Lakes

Elementary School, started the garden at the rear of the

Westside school several years ago. But recently, she received a

letter of commendation from interim Superintendent Donald Van

Fleet and a garden award from the school.

School officials also are having a plaque made, officially

proclaiming the oasis as "Nila's Garden."

"It's a lot of work, and she does this on her own time," said

Verna Fields , the principal at Chimney Lakes. "She even brings

in her own plants."

"It's a hobby for me," Gilley said. "I do it from the heart.

I enjoy gardening."

The garden was once a barren eyesore most noted as the spot

where the trash disposal containers were kept. Now, the serene

beauty of its butterfly lilies, pinecone lilies, calla lilies,

amaryllis, marigolds, hibiscus and zinnias attract admiring

students, teachers and administrators.

"Everybody takes an interest in the front, but the back is

important, too," Gilley said.

Bob Warren, a food services employee who once worked at

Chimney Lakes and is now at Morse Avenue Elementary, helps

Gilley groom the garden. She works in it during her breaks while

Warren joins her for several hours after school one day a week.

Warren has also added his own touches -- frog and turtle

statues and a 75-footlong brick sidewalk.

GRANT FOR PRESCHOOL CENTER: The Jessie Ball duPont branch of the

YMCA has received a three-year, $180,300 grant from the Jessie

Ball duPont Fund for its new Preschool Development Center.

Greg Coop , associate executive director at the duPont Y, said

the grant will be used to support preschool child care and

family services for low-income families trying to move from

welfare to work.

The grant will allow the Y to introduce preschoolers to music,

science, art, dramatic plays and guest speakers. They will also

get computer training and swimming lessons.

For parents, the grant will offer a service to advise them of

available health care services, access to the computer lab for

assistance with basic skills, and a support group for parents.

The new 6,300-square-foot preschool center is expected to open

in September for 1- to 4-year-olds. Applications for low- and

no-cost subsidies are available and will be accepted through

Aug. 31.

SESSION ON STORMS: Learn how to prepare for a hurricane from the

experts.

A free program on that topic will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to

12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Duval County Extension Learning

Center, 1010 N. McDuff Ave. …

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