Check out the pure joy in this child’s face as part of a “post build” planting party at the Mechnicville Area Community Services Center. Little did I realize 5 years ago I would still be creating one of a kind green spaces to benefit local nonprofit organizations here in Saratoga County…and feeling the unmistakable satisfaction of a job remarkably done by ALL volunteers! It is the manner in which we start our growing seasons here in the North Country thanks to a generous corporate Go Green initiative from Kohls Department Stores and the gracious donations of local green industry business owners. And oh yes…let me mention again…ALL VOLUNTEER ONE DAY building crew! This is indeed the best of all worlds, folks coming together to get their hands dirty for a great project that will be enjoyed by many, for many years to come.
Sunday April 27th Chip and I along with members of our crew, and approximately 30 volunteers from Capital Region Kohls Department stores and Mechanicville Area Community Services Center brought Nature into the City with our annual Go Green Community Build. In urban settings, the opportunity for kids to experience first hand nature settings is limited. Getting kids interested in and engaged in nature through gardening is a passion of mine. I truly feel these rich experiences can help children learn a variety of skill sets for their success in life. We have innumerable untapped opportunities for children to profit from gardens and nature in the presence of community nonprofit organizations.
Many years ago I had the opportunity to meet and learn from Christine Nye, the horticulturalist from the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Her commitment to bringing nature into an urban area of Chicago inspired me to follow this vision in small steps here in the capital region. Christine began efforts several years ago to reduce the “parking lot style” landscapes surrounding the aquarium and transform them into pockets of nature to be enjoyed by the families visiting the aquarium each year. So while the children and families come to see Aquarium life, the outdoor environment offers bonus opportunities to learn about outdoor seasonal plants and wildlife. Folks from the surrounding areas need not buy a ticket to enjoy this unique glimpse of nature.
It is from this experience I drew inspiration for the design of this year’s Go Green Community Build for the MACSC. Identifying an approximate 20 x 40 patch of unused space between 2 sidewalks, we created a slice of nature with flowers, shrubs, recirculating rainwater, and rocks that invite kids to sit upon and experience nature first hand. The flowers and shrubs attract birds, butterflies and pollinators. The rainwater captured and recirculated into 2 waterfalls, offers new learning and appreciation of recycling and conservation. Technology has provided us with a wealth of new resources and conveniences over the past 10 years. But nature continues to trump all in it’s ability to offer much needed hands-on experiences that feed natural curiosity, wonder and social interaction our video monitor technological world often cannot. And the push for math and science initiatives for kids…look no further than the construction and life of an outdoor green space. Apply the concepts hands-on versus computer terminal. The return on the investment in creating green spaces for kids is limitless.
For more information on our 2014 Go Green Community Build go to the Mechanicville Area Community Services Center and Chips Landscaping face book pages.
Also check out pur website: chipslandscaping.net
for more information on our educational services for children and communities.