Woodland Heights Elementary School principal Bob Turner hopes to get a project jump-started that’s taken longer than he expected.

The project is the construction of the Learning Garden, which will help students learn about nature. It will be built on grass in front of the school thanks to a $10,000 grant last year from the Goody’s Family Clothing Store company.

The garden will be named in honor of Margie Michael, a Woodland Heights teacher who died in February at age 59.

Woodland Heights’ PTO from the 2007-’08 school year came up with the idea for the learning garden as its members discussed ways of spending PTO funds.

Landscape architecture Gayle McNeill designed the garden at no charge, stating her desire to share her passion and talent with the children and the community.

A circular cement pathway, which will be the garden’s perimeter, has been laid, and some materials have been deposited on the school grounds. Those materials include several pickup-loads worth of building stones which will be used as the garden’s bed.

Turner said one of the dads from the school — Randy Yazell — has brought in four pickup-loads of the stones and will bring in two additional loads.

But other than the circular pathway and a few piles of materials, not much has been done.

“The original idea hasn’t changed. It just never got executed,” Turner said. “I was hoping it would be done in March, April, May. It’s really time to get it going.”

A bald cypress tree will be at the center of the Learning Garden. The garden will include fruit trees, a vegetable garden, a storybook garden, a native plant garden and a bird garden. It will also include small covered water barrels for plants and animals including turtles, fish and frogs.

Turner talked to the current PTO Thursday about the project and showed a power-point presentation, hoping to rekindle interest. There were new PTO moms who weren’t familiar with the Learning Garden and they seemed enthused about the idea, Turner said.

He said he hopes by getting the word out, “maybe somebody will have a skill that we can use.” Someone might have access to equipment or material, Turner said.

Some of the work can be done by volunteers, but some needs to be done by paid help, Turner said.

A landscaper will be out soon to get rid of the grass inside the circular pathway and install a water line, he said.

Woodland Heights was the only Texas school to receive a grant from Goody’s Good Deeds for Schools program in 2008. The company awarded $500,000 in grants to 50 schools nationwide to help pay for items the schools need but can’t afford such as playground updates, new computer technology and arts programs, Goody’s said then in a press release.