BY AMANDA MOSES
This summer, the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC) has been blossoming with ripe tomato fruits, bulging zucchini vegetables, and multicolored flowers. Members of the Oasis Camp TWU are among the first groups to explore the summer harvest. Garden Educator Jacqui Roytman welcomed the campers to their first visit this season, and went over the rules of the garden. She stressed that in the UGC all visitors must be respectful of each other, the plants, and any insects. Roytman also explained to the children that all of the vegetation started off as seeds planted in the spring by both students in the local schools and members of the Spring Creek Senior Partners’ Gardening Club.
After a tour of the UGC, Roytman told the campers that there are several factors that help the plants in the UGC grow: sunlight, water, nutrients in the soil, and pollinators. The sunlight allows the plants to perform photosynthesis, which is the process of harnessing energy and turning it into chemical energy fueling the plant. Together, the counselors and campers dis-cussed the parts of a plant that absorb water and sunlight. “The one thing all plants have in common is roots,” Roytman said. The roots attaches to the ground absorbing water and other nutrients, which then travels to the stem, leaves, and flower.
The group of children gathered around a table in the garden where they observed the parts of a weed. She then pointed at fresh dill growing within the garden beds, and said the internal mechanics of a weed plants is the same as the dill. “This is nature in my hand,” said six-year-old, Tyrone Greaves as he held a dill flower in his hand.
“Some herbs, like dill, are classified as pollinator flowers because they attract butterflies and bees,” Roytman said. These insects help to spread pollen in the garden, allowing plants like tomatoes and cucumbers to blossom with fruit.
Each child was given a dill flower, and then before they left Roytman helped the class beat the heat by sprinkling the children with water from the garden hose.
Photos by Amanda Moses