Wareham firefighters lend a helping hand at Decas Elementary

Sep 7, 2018

Wareham firefighters stepped up in a big way on Friday, Sept. 7 to lend a helping hand at the John William Decas Elementary School.

Armed with rakes, shovels, and saws the crew set about trimming trees and weeding overgrown flowerbeds at the school’s outdoor classroom. They were accompanied by special education teacher Michelle Skolnik who had a posted a cry for help on the Wareham Matters Facebook page.

“Our former landscaper stepped down when his wife retired,” Skolnik explained. “It was hard for us to keep up with the space on our own, and I realized we were going to need some help.”

Wareham firefighter Eddie Brundage was one of the first people to reply to Skolnik’s message, jumping in without hesitation.

“When Michelle said it was for the school, I was all in,” Brundage said. “It’s our job as a department to get involved with the community.”

According to Skolnik, the outdoor classroom at Decas serves a variety purposes throughout the year. Visits from animal ambassadors are hosted in the space and milkweed plants create a sanctuary for Monarch butterflies in the spring. Students in kindergarten through the second grade also get to work on individual projects to enhance the space. 

In the past, Skolnik said students have painted kindness rocks, designed birdhouses and even sculpted their own stepping stones. 

“It’s an extremely versatile and hands-on space for our kids,” she said.

An all-day Fun Run event raised $15,000 for the space back in May. Skolnik said that money will go towards nature related field trips as well as a memorial butterfly bench for first grade teacher Denise Jop who passed away unexpectedly last year.

“This space means a lot to us teachers and our students,” Skolnik said. “So I can’t express how grateful I am to Eddie and the fire department for all their help.”

“It’s what we should be doing,” Brundage said. “There’s no reason for any of us not to step up.”