2013-06-21 / Community

A Garden Grows At Goldie Maple

Goldie Maple Academy students dig deep to make their school garden grow. Goldie Maple Academy students dig deep to make their school garden grow. This spring, the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance teamed up with Goldie Maple Academy and the Police Athletic League to transform their grassy schoolyard into an edible oasis. During the six-week curriculum, students had the opportunity to participate in all stages of the urban gardening process.

RWA educators Elizabeth Gilchrist and Sean Bolebruchs led the efforts by helping the students design and build wooden raised beds in which to grow their plants, using recycled wood from super-storm Sandy.

Next, the young gardeners studied and selected different species of vegetables and herbs to grow. Gilchrist and Bolebruchs provided soil and seedlings, and together over the next few weeks, the students carefully tended the crops, added decorations, and explored the art of guerilla gardening. Last week, the group celebrated their successful garden and the end of the school year with a harvest and small feast.

Students celebrate the start of their school yard garden. Students celebrate the start of their school yard garden. RWA extended special thanks to Jill Moore, Police Athletic League afterschool Director, for partnering with them on the project.

According to organizers, “The garden has brought out the best in the kids and received rave reviews from the community at Goldie Maple who have praised the garden for its positive behavioral effects on student participants.”

This summer the garden will be integrated into the regular stewardship responsibilities of RWA’s summer Shore Corps program.

“This type of outdoor environmental education is critical to the development of an environmentally conscious generation that will help to propel us into a sustainable future”, said Blaze Jones- Yellin, RWA Program Manager.

“Unfortunately,” Yellin-Jones stated, “programming of this nature is rarely available to public school children. RWA is committed to providing environmental programming to the youth of Far Rockaway and the Goldie Maple Garden is a model for core curriculum programming that can be integrated into the regular school day.”

With the garden in place, Goldie Maple Academy is looking forward to enjoying the continuous aesthetic and educational benefits of their urban edible oasis.

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