“Young plants and minds growing together” sums up the Junior Gardener’s after-school program under the leadership of the Calusa Garden Club.
Tommie Barfield Elementary School: Third, fourth and fifth grade students had fun creating their own floral design using flowers from the Marco Island’s Farmer’s Market. These masterpieces were recently displayed at the Calusa Garden Club’s annual flower show in March.
Worms are also a top favorite for the young students – the red wriggler kind. Each year the students prepare a home for the worms in a plastic tote box using shredded newspapers, wet peat moss, some vegetable waste and eggshells. This is the new composting home for theworms. It is messy and someone always shrieks, and yes, it’s a lot of fun!
The students planted peas in their school garden in October and November and watched them dry up and die due to heat. It was disappointing to the students but the bumper crop of green beans made up for it.
Avalon Elementary School, Naples: Calusa Garden members volunteer at the Avalon Elementary School Global Garden. This is an after-school program in partnership with the Naples Botanical Garden. It not only teaches students about Florida native plants and growing vegetables but how to eat a healthier plant based diet. The garden is located at the courtyard ofAvalon Elementary School. The students sometimes cook what they grow and go home and garden with their grandparents.
Scholarship Program: Each year Calusa Garden Club awards two, one-week campership (scholarships) to Camp Wekiva, located in the central part of the state. The camp offers a myriad of activities for the third, fourth and fifth grade students. Students are referred by their school, church or a garden club member. Camp Wekiva is all about “Campers Today, Environmental Leaders Tomorrow.”
This year’s recipients of the two camp scholarships:
Lily Sennie of Tommie Barfield Elementary School: Lily is very interested in the environment and nature and is looking forward to her first summer campexperience. She’d like to have a future career in marine biology. She was referred by the United Church of Marco Island.
Sandra Nava of Avalon Elementary School: Sandra is very interested in learning more about nature. She is looking forward to the summer camp and is eager to learn new things. She was referred by her teacher, Patti Thorsen.
New this year: Jordan Barrett, a graduating senior from Marco Island Academy, received the club’s first award to a graduating senior. Jordan will be attending Florida State University. He’s performed 80 community service hours and also volunteered for the Ambassadors of the Environment.
For more information about the Calusa Garden Club, visit www.calusa.org and on Facebook/Calusa Garden.