Landscaping companies install free pond at Busy Bee Children’s Center in Waukegan, Illinois

Aspen Valley Landscape Supply in coordination with Aquascape, Inc.

Pictured: Louise Herberger and OHU Board Member Howard Schnitzer with the pond installation crew.

Master Teacher Louise Herberger bounded into the offices of Aspen Valley Landscape Supply in early July to respond to its request in 100 words or less on why her organization should benefit from a free pond build out.

“Louise was so excited about the opportunity and you can see it written all over her face,” said Denise Gawel, organizer of the project and employee of Aspen Valley Landscape Supply, Park City. “We weren’t sure what kind of response we would get when we posted the information in the local newspaper.”

Gawel and her coworkers decided to use a typical pond building training for contractors that work with Aspen Valley Landscape Supply and in conjunction with Aquascape, Inc., as a community service project. So she called up the local paper and posted the call for entries.

Out of all the entries submitted, the local community decided One Hope United’s Busy Bee Children’s Center in Waukegan was the most deserving.

Herberger’s 98-word entry: “The early childhood education program at Busy Bee Children’s Center provides services for 139 children and their families who are struggling with risk factors that can hinder learning and future success. Part of our curriculum includes caring for our pet ducks. In 1994, I built a small outdoor area for the ducks, including a small pond. It is intended as a place where the children can observe and interact with nature, practice responsibility and use gentle behavior. Our program would be greatly enriched by having a professional pond area where we can have a natural environment education zone.”

According to Herberger, the original pond was lined with shower curtains until Abbott volunteers, including scientists, came out in the mid-90s to improve the pond and build a bridge and benches for the children.

Then on Thursday, Aug. 12, one of the hottest days of the summer no less, Aspen Valley’s Denise Gawel and Crystal Novy, Art Arizmendi from Art’s Landscape of North Chicago, Chris Volk from CK Brick Paving of Gurnee, Alfredo Garcia from Alfredo’s Landscaping of Waukegan, Keith Molini from Cityscape Landscape of Kenosha, Wisconsin, along with Chris Wilson from Aquascape packed up the donated materials (from Aspen Valley Landscape Supply) and headed over to build the pond for the pet ducks and children at Busy Bee. The children were so grateful to the companies that they came running out on their lunch break to present the workers with handmade thank-you cards. The Waukegan child care center offers programs for infants, toddler/twos and preschoolers.

“We are so blessed to have such caring companies like Aspen Valley Landscape Supply in our community to help our center,” said Herberger. “Without them, we would not be able to provide the level of education necessary to teach our children how to grow into caring, productive adults.”

Founded in 1987 in Lockport, Illinois, Aspen Valley Landscape Supply, Inc. is one of Chicagoland’s largest suppliers of hardscape materials to the professional landscape industry. For more information including company locations, please visit

Busy Bee Children’s Center, located at 2115 Ernie Krueger Circle, Waukegan, Illinois, is a state-licensed facility offering high quality early education as well as full-day child care. The Center offers Preschool for All including subsidized tuition to qualifying families through the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Percy takes his first dip in the new pond. For more photos of the pond installation, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook/com/1hopeunited.

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