Sowing seeds of service: PTSA plans lanscaping project to honor former Principal Bruce Butler’s service
Bruce Butler worked in Fairfax County Public Schools for 31 years, but the 14 years he spent at South Lakes as principal and as an assistant principal are considered to be some of his most impressive.
Throughout those 14 years, Butler was often caught working on the landscape and beauty of the campus. Butler would wear shorts and a gardening hat while spreading grass seed, watering the lawn, and pulling weeds from school gardens.
To honor Butler’s unwavering commitment to the school and the surrounding Reston community, the PTSA will organize several school landscaping projects to beautify campus grounds. These landscaping projects, headed by former PTSA President Elizabeth Vandenburg, work in collaboration with Hidden Lane Landscaping and Design.
“We just thought after all the work Mr. Butler has put into the school this would be a nice way to remember all the work that he has done,” Peter Murray of Hidden Lane Landscaping and Design said. “Mr. Butler really showed a huge commitment to the school. He really treated the school as his own and was really keen on helping out the students, faculty, and community.”
The association has raised over three thousand dollars, in addition to donations by Hidden Lane Landscaping and Design to fund the memorial garden.
“FCPS has virtually no budget for yard maintenance,” Vandenburg said. “This year they don’t provide much.”
To plan for the project, the PTSA has reestablished a Landscaping Committee to develop a short-term and long-term working plan for this project. Along with developing a working plan, the landscaping committee encourages students, alumni, parents, and community members to become involved. Many Seahawk community members responded well to the prospect.
“I think this project is a great idea,” junior John Mangal said. “Of the two years I had Mr. Butler as principal, his commitment to the school was very evident. I really think [the garden] is a great way to honor his work to the school and community.”
Vandenburg, Murray and his staff from Hidden Lane Landscaping and Design will begin their work on the project this Saturday from 8-12 p.m. by beginning stage 1 of the landscaping project. They encourage students, alumni, parents, and community members to volunteer their time and help out with stage 1 of the project. CAS and NHS hours will be given to students who show up to volunteer. Donations will also be accepted.
“Stage 1 will mostly consist of a little bit of maintenance,” Murray said. “We will be organizing the garden beds, edging, mulching, and pruning.”
After completing stage 1, Vandenburg and Hidden Lane intend to plant crate myrtle trees and prepare their work for the garden on the stadium side. The date for stage 2 of this project has yet to be announced.
Excitement grows for many who worked with Butler during his years as principal.
“I think this project is an excellent idea,” main office receptionist Liz Knapp said. “Nothing was too small for Bruce to show how much of a family we are at South Lakes. I miss seeing Mr. Butler out there with his milk carton watering his plants so I’m glad someone else is carrying on the tradition of carrying and commitment.”