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Blandford rock wall projectDonate an hour to help build a retaining wall behind the new school. This winding rock wall (in the style of those by Andrew Goldsworthy) will encourage gatherings and inspire the creative minds of future BEEPs. Bring your memories and your muscle.

Cost: Free
Time: 10am - 5pm
Location: Behind the school


A message from Jeff Lende about plans for the two afternoons of the 9th and 10th:

The time has come. It's time to do something significant, again. The rocks are setting, all awkwardly dumped on each other, patiently waiting for you and the reunion. A dozen of the larger ones will be moved by a bulldozer beforehand to help start the outline of our project, but the smaller ones are all waiting for us. They will be placed in between the large boulders.

Many hands make light work. I wouldn't call this work, exactly. We only need to have each BEEP move one rock.

You examine the pile, then select and adopt your rock. Next, you lift and carry, or nudge and push the rock onto one of the two wheel dollies on hand. Then place it as part of the terrace wall and badaboom, you did it.

Simple, except for one more request. Before moving the rock, you must surface your strongest recollection of being a BEEP. Then you will "send" the memory to the rock wall before positioning your rock into its proper place. Remember, feel, transport, and place. It will become a rock terraced wall of BEEP memories, 40 years deep.

There is a need for this project. It will replace a landscape design that looked good on paper but didn’t quite translate in terra firma.

The current sloping hill toward the school’s north rear doors tends to send water into our building during a heavy rainfall. Snowmelt this winter created the same consequence. We’d like to change that by creating functional terracing that will service special outdoor events that require audience sitting space. Think Wildflower Tea Concert (we lost the use of the nature center's deck). Everyone has liked the idea. Last year’s parents all said yeah. Some community members have liked it enough to make things easier. My dentist Julie Wemmer, gave 500 smackers to help move some of the rocks. Some rocks were purchased, but Dykema Excavating whooped the heck out of us by donating and transporting three full huge loads of free rocks. Then came Big Buddha. Yikes. The stone, as it is now resting, has a head-like look. It's around 17K pounds. Dykema sent the rock on its own trailer, and when I spotted it, I freaked. There was no way to unload it. After calming down a bit, I saw a gigantic payloader cruise onto our school’s driveway; making its way toward the trailer and boulder. It traveled from Dykema Excavating, their plant being near 3 mile and the Beltline. It drove to school on the road. More accurately, this gigantic earth mover was the second payloader that attempted to find our school by city street. The first one experienced mechanical failure half way to school. Had to get another. Wow.

Rocks and boulders, what a generous and appropriate gift to a nature school. There is a donor for this project, too.

So now comes the BEEP fun part: to pitch in, all together, in order to create a very cool and functional space that will enhance outdoor BEEP meetings.

We could do it with 10 minutes help (max) from each of you.

The donor attached a string, though. They made it mandatory that shade trees would be planted in the area. That makes perfect sense. Shade for the audience. Buy the trees or dig em up, we'll find a way.

The trees will be spaced and planted intermittently in between some of the rocks in the terracing. In 30-40 years it'll be even more awesome. Trees (those aren't future BEEPs up on those branches?) whose limbs will intertwine from tree to tree.

Rugged rocks, edges softened by glacial time. Trees, shade, grass on the 10' wide terraces. Beautiful, feeling rather poetic.

So here is the first step. If you are a BEEP reading this, this is your assignment. At the right time, allow yourself a little quiet time and try to come up with an important memory of being a BEEP.

Funny/sad/insightful/a toast/whatever hits your beanie best. If you are still reading this, this is an assignment for every BEEP. Honest.

The next assignment is optional. Please consider writing and sending your memory to us. Post it. Next, at the reunion, carry or two-wheel a rock into place and plant your strong BEEP thought as well as the rock into the terrace wall.

It'll be a pay-it-forward but still enjoy its presence in-the-now kind of product. The look will grow and age well.

This week a bulldozer will grunt, push, cajole, and bully into a place the big rocks you see in the picture. These boulders will create the outline of the curved terraces. The next step will be to use the remaining smaller stones and place them in between the larger pre-placed rocks. That's where you come in, the moving part.

There will be three dollies to help move heavier rocks, and I plan to buy some plywood to help create a smoother surface for walking and dolly pulling. It'll happen from 2 pm-6 pm both reunion days. If it’s hot, I promise to spray you with the water hose. Honest.

If this rock/memory terrace suggestion of mine doesn't hit the right chord, and participation is low, it can always be a 2013-14 BEEP/parent project. However, this seems a project tailored for the BEEP reunion. Alumni get first dibs on it.

My next post will be about BEEPs dancing during those two reunion nights. We can do pop, rock, reggae, or International. Or all of them. More next time. Thanks for your time.

Jeff Lende
BEEP Teacher

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JUNE 13, 2014

Help us celebrate Jeff Lende's years of service to Blandford Environmental Education Program

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