Eliana Valencia, a Tommie Barfield Elementary School (TBE) fifth grade student was the recipient of a 2019 Calusa Garden Club Summer Camp Scholarship to Camp Wekiva Youth Camp. Camp Wekiva is a co-educational summer overnight nature camp for students in grades three through eight, sponsored by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs. The one-week camp is held during June and July at Wekiva Springs State Park. Its purpose is to instill in Florida youth a love and respect for Florida nature through nature study, conservation and protection of our environment.
In order to qualify, Eliana wrote the following:
I would like to attend Camp Wekiva because my favorite after-school activity is participating in Garden Club. I have been doing Garden Club for three years now. I truly love it and have recommended other people to join. This passion of mine is something I wish to pursue later on in life. I feel Camp Wekiva would give me the knowledge necessary to do that. Please consider me to attend at this camp.
Calusa Garden Club Scholarship Chairperson Marianne Foley awarded the Summer Camp Scholarship to Eliana Valencia and encouraged the Junior Gardeners to apply for next year’s award.
Wednesday, May 1st was the last day for Junior Gardeners at TBE to complete their projects. Each month, volunteers from the Calusa Garden Club prepare a gardening or environmental learning project for the Junior Gardeners.
Junior Gardeners meet on the first Wednesday of each month, from October through May at Tommie Barfield Elementary School. This is a very popular after school enrichment program. This year, they had 33 applicants for the program with room for only 15 students.
The Junior Gardeners selected earth boxes for easy container gardening for this year. Using their earth boxes, students planted kale, carrots, onions, tomatoes, peppers, herbs and salad greens. Students also brought samples of their harvest home for tasting.
Sadly, the students had to say good-bye to their earth boxes and had a tough time deciding which plants to take home. They were given small containers with soil so they can easily re-plant them at home. The earth boxes will be ready again next year for the next set of Junior Gardeners.
The success of the Junior Gardeners is due to the dedication of the Calusa Garden Club volunteers along with TBE teachers, staff and participating students. Kudos to Nancy Traiser (Program Chairperson) and garden volunteers, Donna Kay, Monique Doyle, Tiki Finney, Lori Fredericks, Bernadette Longo, Sara Wolf, Linda Walker, Opi DeFalco, Teri Pike and Susan Neustadt.
The Calusa Garden Club meets the second Monday of each month (October – April) at Wesley United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, 350 S. Barfield Drive, Marco Island.
For membership information, please visit the club’s website at calusa.org.