Groton Conservation Trust has a legacy of interweaving education with conservation. We are pleased to announce the completion of a project that integrates conservation, education, and Groton history at the site of the former Moors School on Moors Road, just off Farmers Row by the General Field.
With the generous support of the Groton School and a 2019 Partnership Grant from Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, Groton Conservation Trust Trustee and Groton School teacher David Black recently led the final push of a multi- year effort to transform the Moors Schoolhouse land into an educational garden filled with native medicinal plants.
The purpose of the garden is to teach visitors about the native fauna used by indigenous peoples of this area for food, medicine, and religious purposes, and carried by early settlers to this area for their medicine cabinets.
The Moors School was one of many early district schoolhouses in Groton charged with teaching students ages 5-15. Established in the early 1800s, Moors School taught generations of Groton students, and was one of the last of the fourteen Groton district schools to remain before Groton centralized its education in the early 20th century. After closing in 1911, the building stood for many years before falling into disrepair and eventually being destroyed.
The footprint of the school’s physical foundation remains, along with a beautiful kiosk placed by local Scouts. Through the Groton School Community Engagement Program, student volunteers began removing overgrowth in 2016, clearing vegetation from within and around the foundation, eventually revealing the outline of the original building foundation.
This year, the final leg of this project was completed: the students spread new topsoil to form planting beds, and working with the horticulturalists at Nasami Farm (part of the Native Plant Trust), a list of appropriate native plants was developed and planted within the foundation, shrubs with medicinal value were planted around the entry path, and the perimeter of the foundation was seeded with a native wildflower mix.
Groton Conservation Trust has also partnered with the Groton Historical Society to enhance signage at the site to include more information about the history of the school. The Groton Historical Society has preserved documents with first hand accounts of the school, and will be able to share facts and photos about this important part of Groton’s educational history.
Groton Conservation Trust is committed to maintaining the property through a dedicated endowment, and thanks the criticalcontributionsoftheNative Plant Trust for its guidance and plants; the Groton School and its students for the contribution of supplies and many hours of hard physical work required to restore this unique property; and critical financial support from Freedom’s Way. This project is funded in part by a grant from the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area.
Katy Coburn, Groton Conservation Trust