Wow. While organizing my office, I shuffled through many Youth Garden emails discussing lesson ideas, special events and projects, requesting supplies, sharing good news and concerns. I looked at blogs and photos of our Youth Garden in its first year and I thought, “I am so impressed all of this got done in only a year.”
From unbroken ground last October we provided learning opportunities in the areas of: composting, winterizing beds, fence installation, weeding, planting, soil, insects, --- and it’s not just the youth who learned, obviously. Sometimes parents and other
adults helped with projects they were not comfortable leading, but were happy to lend a hand, keeping track of the kids and their progress, providing assistance, supplies, tools or refreshment.
We worked with help from our Tolland Garden Paths (TGP), Tolland Recreation Department, Tolland High School VISION club (Volunteers In Service In Our Neighborhood), other Tolland students for special projects: Brianna Dunphy, Kyle Ferguson (student photographer); and Tolland Lions Club, amongst others we've mentioned throughout the year.
From Sandie Benjamin, Youth Garden Team Chair:
Thanks to Maryann Fusco-Rollins at TAC, to Cathy Wilcox/co-leader for the JMG Program, and to the TYG Team, four hard working young gardener-teachers have OFFCIALLY earned certification as UConn JR Master Gardeners. …we happily discovered there are now 2 levels to JMG certification. This means that Julia Benjamin, Gina Carroll and Jocelyn Hoagland easily met the criteria for level one. Completed level 2. Well done!
The Tolland Youth Garden Growing a Healthy Me program teachers and leaders were: Paula Robinson, Fran Maynard, Sandie Benjamin, Susan Mundy, Debbie Kupfer, Marilyn Shirley, Cathy Wilcox, Sandy Jerbert, Carol Zerio, Jane Seymour. I hope that I am not inadvertently leaving out anyone.
We now even have a site ready for – get this – a shed! Do you know how exciting it is to have a secure, on-site shelter for tools and supplies? Sandiegot some stone in place, on which the building will sit. She has been working with Duane McDuffee, Ellington High School Technology Education teacher and leader of the shed project students. Because of the special relationship EHS Tech Department has with Kloter Farms, and since TGP and Tolland Lions Club kicked in funds where we needed help, the Garden was able to afford the shed.
In anticipation of a place to hang it, we also got a couple of donors for a hanging produce scale. Mark Fox, of Fox Heating Service, Stafford Springs, and myself, on behalf of my business Clean Slate Services, contributed that lovely item. It will be nice to more accurately track our harvests, especially if the rumors are true about a competition with the Senior Center garden.
Also in process – our own web site! More on that later, I promise. For now, enjoy some photos of us putting our beds to bed for the winter, and make a note for the Spring to come grow with us.