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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And we're off!

These are photos from the end of Winter Term (January). Somewhere, there is a camera with pictures from yesterday. When I find it, I will post those as well. If you saw them, you would see this beautiful garden filled with people. We have more than twenty participant garden instructors in the Peace Patch this spring. All of them gathered with me for our first weekly project meeting of the year yesterday morning. For two years, I have met with Eckerd students weekly at Eckerd College to discuss the garden, go over lesson plans, and monitor garden progress. This year we hold these meetings at the garden. Every Monday. 7:45 a.m. And so, there we were, sitting around in the heavy fog and light mist of winter Florida, learning about the new native plants we have put at the edge of the Patch, looking at the depth of sedge roots, examining sprouts, sampling parsley, sipping warm coffee, and planning the work ahead.

Six Eckerd College students will be taking the curriculum we have been building over the past two years and adjusting the activities and the lessons to become grade appropriate. (In the past, we have aimed for the middle and found it too much for the youngsters and too little for the older kids; they change FAST at this age.) Some seventeen to twenty (we're still sorting things out) Eckerd volunteers are also staffing the multiple shifts so that all of the classes from K-4 at Lakewood Elementary will be able to visit the garden once a week until May. We have two Academy of Senior Professionals volunteers joining us as well, Julie and Elria, and a student from USF. We have a project intern for the spring, Sarah, a graduate student from Ole Miss, who is helping us add nutritional and health-oriented elements to the garden work and to the curriculum.

All of them were there in those photos. Curious, excited to be underway. Some of them hiding from the camera. Other hamming it up. Everyone making my day that much brighter.

The starters seen above have all sprouted and I also have pictures of the tomatoes sprouted there (from our own seeds from our plants from last year) being transferred to the bed where they will grow this semester. Students getting their hands dirty preparing the food plants for a three month nurturing into fruit. The potted plants you see below are the natives we've added, and they too are already in the ground in the pictures on that camera which I will find before too long. Here they are!

Kip Curtis
Peace Patch Project Director

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