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US FWS and Groundwork Elizabeth staff assisting with the gardening project at James T Schaefer Gardens US FWS and Groundwork Elizabeth staff assisting with the gardening project at James T Schaefer Gardens Candi Alva
09 September 2019

Importance of Gardening

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So far in the few weeks that I’ve been an intern for HAF, I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet amazing people from different demographics. One that stuck out to me, was working with the seniors on weeding and caring for their community garden at James T Schaefer Gardens.

I was out on community outreach with a Groundwork Elizabeth worker named Adrienne, who does once a week programs on gardening. She allowed me to shadow her and see all that she does for the senior center when it came to gardening and lesson plans. While I was there I met interesting and vivacious people that come every Tuesday afternoon to learn more about nature and gardening. They sat with me and told me stories about their lives and their interactions with wildlife and nature.

The volunteers gardening at James T Schaefer Gardens

We went to the gardens and started trying to figure out who was stealing the garlic that they kept re-planting until Adrienne said it was very possible of it being groundhogs taking them since there is an open field right next to the garden. The lesson that week was how to spot good bugs and bad bugs that could be killing your garden, and then to take some time to do some weeding. They were all very enthusiastic about gaining more knowledge of cultivating and protecting.  I was especially happy when one of the older women took out her harmonica and started playing music while another woman started singing along to the tune of the song; it made me so happy to see that from them. Coming into nature was a ritual and place to seek happiness, laughter, and peace, it definitely made me feel like programs like the one I am a part of with Adrienne, are important and worth the time and effort because it brings a sense of community to people everywhere.

MANO Project
is an initiative of Hispanic 
Access Foundation.

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