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What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Posted by BETH WEGNER | May 10, 2012 :

One of our goals at Nature's Schoolyard is to empower children to be leaders and environmental stewards. I had the wonderful opportunity of starting a new community garden with kids this Spring. The Pekin Park District was one of ten recipients of a $10,000 Grow Your Park Grant from the National Recreation and Park Association. Over the course of four months, I have created a comprehensive learning garden plan with children ranging in age from preschool through high school. Needless to say, this summer has flown by, and we have created several main features in the project. There are a few gardens, each designed around a specific goal of providing habits for pollinators or growing fruits and vegetables. Also, we are in the process of creating an inspirational focal-point garden, a nature exploration trail, which features a circuit of signs with multiple-intelligence activities to allow children to experience the garden in a myriad of ways, and we plan to add a small orchard in the Spring. All of this garden development is occurring in one of the hottest, driest summers on record! The garden design plans and garden class lessons plans can be found in our Garden folder. I am so proud of all the children who participated in the creation of these gardens--they are Superheroes for Mother Earth.

The other highlight of my summer was our family vacation in Alaska. This state is full of extreme wilderness and breathtaking beauty. We began traveling from the bustling city of Anchorage, through the Kenai Peninsula to Homer, which is the Halibut Fishing Capital of the World, and up to Denali, taking in the majestic mountains, glaciers, and wildlife all around! The highlight of the trip was fishing on the Russian River with a mother black bear and cub and a mother brown bear and cub all in the space of about 30 feet! Usually this would be a very dangerous situation, but the bears just wanted to fish, and we were not a threat to them. Truly, we experienced a once-in-a-lifetime bear adventure in the enchanted wood.

Happy gardening,

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