Helping Hands at Harvest for Health Gardens at Bryant Pond
Thanks to Kitchen Gardeners International, we were able to construct four new raised beds with attachable hoop houses to extend our gardening season. The staff at the University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond work with many different local alternative ed programs from near by schools year round. The students come to camp, and Bryant Pond 4-H Staff visit the schools as well.
In the photo you see students from our closest local school. They are part of an alternative ed program and struggle in the normal classroom. Many of these students are at-risk of not graduating. Over the past couple of years we have worked with them doing a variety of S.T.E.M. lessons and projects. Last year we worked with them to build a walking trail behind their school. The students even built bridges to cross different brooks and streams. This year we had them help us with preparing the garden.
The student in the foreground (with the pitchfork), Matt, has grown a lot these past years while working with us. His level of skills and abilities are very impressive, although not always recognized inside the normal classroom. He loves to use his hands for any outdoor activities, or in this case, building a raised bed. I personally do not know much about carpentry, and he led me in helping him and the others to build the raised bed. I exchanged what knowledge I could about gardening in return.
An Americorps member from their school, Meryl, also used to work at Bryant Pond 4-H Camp before joinin Americorps. She has a great passion for gardening and great relationships with all of her students.
Between the support from Meryl, the time spent outside, and the freedom to do meaningful work outside of the classroom, Matt gained a huge appreciation for gardening. He excitedly helped to start seeds inside this winter, and was happy to see them enter the ground this spring. His enthusiasm and professional follow through while building the raised bed was a real treat to be a part of.
With these beds, they will be able to eat more fresh food while they visit camp in the autumn and winter months. They will also be able to bring some home or back to school to share with their friends and families. We can probably produce a good amount of greens with four raised beds!
It is my hope that these students will continue to enjoy the outdoors and find positive ways to spend their time. So far they have helped their school, Bryant Pond 4-H Camp, and the community at large, all while learning and practicing skills. Kudos and thanks to them! Along with KGI!
Take care and keep on growing!
Americorps VISTA Member at University of Maine 4-H Camp and Learning Center at Bryant Pond.
KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.
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