The Education by Gardening program at FHC is blessed this summer with a busy schedule serving children from Fervent Prayer Outreach Ministries Church, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Edna Martin Center, and IPS #51.
This summer's activities have been made possible by grants from the Summer Youth Program Fund (SYPF) Partners: Annie E. Casey Foundation and from Lilly Endowment. Additional aid has come by way of the Lilly Day of Service with donations of man power along with plants, compost, mulch, and hand garden tools, etc., Community Hospital's Wellness Program's donation of a RN's time, Jr. Master Gardener guidance and volunteers from Purdue Extension/Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB), science kits from Lilly's Science Education Outreach, and an intern from the Indianapolis Peace Institute. Of course nothing would be possible without the donation of time and energy from many volunteers who lovingly work with the Indianapolis inner city youth and in our garden.
Summer Education by Gardening Week 3 June 23-26
Ecology and environmental horticulture
Germs and soil follow-up
This week campers could be outside all week in the yard under the large shade trees enjoying the breezes. Even though the heat and humidity were both high, it was welcome to be outdoors after last week's rain forced indoor activity. FHC was especially happy to have campers come to the garden from IPS #51 this week, instead doing activities at the school.
There were two activities from previous weeks, which required follow-up. The first was examining the parts of soil. Last week different soils were collected in jar and were shaken and set aside to settle over the week. The diagram below describes expected results. Campers saw the same results, but when passing the jars around, the soils were quickly agitated and mixed together again, making picture taking less than ideal.
The second follow-up activity required campers to check the agar plates from last week. Remember, they swabbed clean and dirty hands and seeded the plates to see if germs grew. Campers were shocked and amazed to see all the germs that had grown over the past week. There were many varieties based on the shapes and colors of the growth. See example plates below. Campers were very disappointed to see that some plates seeded by swabbing clean hands also had germ growth. This re-emphasized the importance of good hand washing. The campers have learned how to wash hands properly as evidenced by a recent field trip. One counselor told a story of visiting another health exhibit and how the children knew all the right answers about proper hand washing when ask by a RN. Now, they just have to make washing hands properly an every day practice.
The biggest excitement this week was the vermi-composting. Children helped create three environments each day. One additional control environment was set up on the first day to be examined by all groups. Each environment consisted of a plastic bin with a lid, wet shredded newspaper, soil, water, and food wastes. One environment contained half the amount of worms (12), one the normal amount (24), and a third one and a half the amount (36). These will be monitored over the remaining weeks of camp to watch how the contents are converted into soil. One group of our youngest campers, ages 5 and 6, entertained us with a song and hand motions about worms: (Song Writer Unknown)
Nobody likes me,
Everybody hates me,
Guess I'll go eat worms,
Long, thin, slimy ones,
Short, fat, juicy ones,
Itsy, bitsy, fuzzy wuzzy worms.
Down goes the first one,
Down goes the second one,
Oh how they wiggle and squirm.
Up comes the first one,
Up comes the second one,
Oh how they wiggle and squirm.
Some campers were able to plant seeds in pots or transplant into the garden. Others got to taste some fresh strawberries picked off the plants. We harvested the first onions from the garden this year. There was a hand painting craft, which will be unveiled in a couple of weeks. And some were able to play a little soccer in the field.
Our nutrition lesson this week was on grains. Campers played "choose the grain" relays in the field. Many teams were cheered when they made all the correct selections. At the end of camp each day, everyone enjoyed some trail mix made from a variety of grains, raisins, and M&Ms as their healthy snack.
Below are some pictures from this week. Click on each day's link if you would like to see more.
Transplanting and Weighing food waste for vermi-composting
Putting red wiggler worms into compost and Hand Painting
Adding dirt to vermi-compost bin and Looking at red wigglers
Thursday morning's pictures
Checking germs on agar plates and Looking at Vermi-compost bin
Thursday afternoon's pictures
Watering garden plants and Building vermi-composting environments