Rudsdale's Green Teens
PUEBLO staff Renee Peoples and Diana Escamilla have been hard at work at the Garden program that began in March of this year, assisting students in learning sustainable living skills through the creation of a large garden With a small budget, students (Green Teens) from Rudsdale and SoJourner Truth schools have been busy transforming a beautiful piece of land adjacent to their school into a vibrant garden. The garden is currently alive with fruits and vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, kale, and cilantro, all planted by Green Teens. Some are now ready for harvesting and distributed to school staff and members of the Oakland community. The garden will maintained by one of the program instructors Renee Peoples three days a week with students in a six-week summer program starting July 8th to clear more brush, water plants, and harvest crops.
This year;s project began with many students who have never been formally introduced to a garden and had never grown or eaten food not purchased in stores. Garden resident creepy crawlers caused quite a commotion. One student who was so adamantly opposed to bugs we assigned as the caretaker for all the bugs. All the other students required to let her know when bugs were in the working area and she would ensure relocation. One objective was to understand and respect all living creatures within nature while attending to the garden. Many students did not want to get their hands dirty but later came to enjoy working with the soil. We accomplished so much this year including, clearing brush, setting up planter boxes, planting a variety of plants and vegetables, began constructing a self made water drip system using recycled large plastic bottles.
Students used their math skills and measured out what will be the beginning of an extended walking path. They placed ground cover along the first section of the path and will extend and complete it in the upcoming school year. We created room for a compost site and will create a compost box as well this year. Students learned how to use tools, fertilize soil, plant seeds, and re-use old painted sign for each plant. We made use of previously made benches directly outside of the garden for circle time. During circle, we would break for snacks and discuss what we would be doing next.New projects are scheduled for the 2013-2014 school year when students return from their long lazy summer vacation. We plan to complete a number of exciting activities.
Hopes of installing a green house, shed and outhouse are on Rudsdale's extended wish list. More planter boxes planned for built, and several will house a herb garden. Excited about the discovery of an extended area, a second garden spot brought to ones attention by school staff, and completion of a walking path will continue within that area, as well. It is also Rudsdale hope to be able to place some benches under the tree and make it a meditation area for all to sit in peace and enjoy an extended view of the garden. We are in the process of developing a crop rotation schedule planned out over several season rotating plants from one planting season to the next.
Students will be involved in research as part of this year's curriculum, to determine what are the best plants to grow, and how the overall space laid out. We are planning a Facebook page that could be share with their school friends and family, serving as a source of information about the garden and possible outside funding sources aiding our students in accomplishing more donated funds. Lastly this year we will have students formerly select a group name and would love to get printed T shirts for each student.
We had so many excited and hard working student this year, and we accomplished so much. It is Rudsdale's hope that those students who have not graduated will return this year, and help in the teaching of new fellow students joining our Green Teen group. As an instructor in the garden, I want to thank all my wonderful students who put so much love and dedication into their garden area. It is my desire, and the wishes of PUEBLO, that the garden becomes a vital link in the community, that can be visited and enjoyed by everyone.
Please check out the pictures of some of the work that the Green Teens have already completed.