Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Garden of Joy: class at Asbury Park High School

This is a report on the first Garden of Joy educational series for children presented at Asbury Park High School on Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Presenter was Patricia Betty, assisted by Darius Surace Kapitula, Garden of Joy 4-H Club Member
Also attending were: Dana DiPaolo, APHS teacher and Phyllis Ledbetter
school nurse.

Our presentation started at 12:30pm and ended 2:30pm There were 13 teens attending (11 boys and 2 girls), ranging in age from 14 yrs to 18 yrs.

After a rowdy beginning, with the children more intent on talking with each other and being disruptive, we came to an understanding that in order to learn there was going to be absolutely no talking while the presenter was talking, unless it was to ask and answer questions.

This turned out to be a simply amazing class! Our class was entitled "Introduction to Ethnobotany and other garden subjects". One of the objects of this presentation was to introduce the children to other career possibilities rooted in the green earth, as well as trying to get them excited about planting and becoming more responsible for the earth. We discussed the importance of sustainability and the lessening of our carbon footprints. Happily, the children seemed to get what we were trying to show them, and in no time at all were planting the vegetable seeds we had given them, identifying many fruits and vegetables necessary for good nutrition and asking intelligent questions about holistic health and green earth professions. The children had never heard about ethnobotany as a career possibility and were fascinated by the introduction to the field. We also touched on other fields such as Naturopathic Doctor, Herbalist, Landscape Designer and

At the end of the presentation, we took a poll to see how many children would be interested in becoming apprentices in future study with Pat Betty and other presenters. Thirteen pairs of hands shot up! Some of the children also committed to helping out in the Garden of Joy. Two children, Allen and Darrell went even further -- they followed us back to the shop to again express their interest in apprenticing and claiming their space in future classes, as well as inquiring about part-time work, as they were not able to get any summer work at all. We are working on having them help out part-time at the Garden of Joy projects, the Garden Marketplace, and possible jobs through our business partners.

It was a beautiful thing to see how eager the children were to learn, how much they wanted to be useful, and how willing they were to work. We have got to encourage this people!