This past month, Kippee and I paid a visit to the Renaissance Charter School in neighboring Queens, to celebrate their recent “Budding Botanist” garden grant from KidsGardening and Klorane Botanical Foundation.
The Budding Botanist program is a USA-based grant program to inspire the youngest citizens to value the environment and protect local ecosystems—and what better way to do that then through gardening!
The Queens school had a preexisting roof garden, but needed to do repairs to their raised beds and improve their greenhouse. Lana Rovner, Marketing Director of Klorane had shared that they chose Renaissance partially due to the fact that “they [Renaissance] are in an urban environment, have a rooftop garden, and are really bringing the knowledge and education that we need to maximize the environments that we’re in and bring greenery into our lives.”
Highlights from the day were seeing what the kids were growing, helping orchestrate a ladybug release in the garden, and giving the kids an opportunity to pet Kippee, which was in most cases, the first time that the children got to be that close to a hen.
I really grew to love plants through where I grew up in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Both of my parents are gardeners—and all of my grandparents gardened, so unconsciously they instilled an appreciation and lifelong love for plants in my own life. You can easily take that for granted until you move outside the country into a more urban environment—or in this case, see other kids—many of whom haven’t been exposed to nature, the outdoors—(or even a real life chicken)—respond to such experiences with boundless enthusiasm.
A special thank you goes out to Klorane’s Botanical Foundation and KidsGardening for helping to facilitate more of these experiences in our country’s schools. I hope this program serves as an inspiration to other schools and educators who are looking to bring garden-based learning programs to their districts.