A Sampling of MG Outreach Projects, 2009

Sharing the aspirations of a Dirt Artist in Trumbull, Milford and Waterbury, CT

By MG Intern Renny Loisel

Pictured at left: Brass City Harvest kids who were helping to build the grow boxes

I quickly learned that my Master Gardener outreach was not about one experience but rather how preparation for and execution of multiple and diverse outreach projects build on one another providing better learning experiences for the Master Gardener as well better information for the subsequent outreach project. It’s about being a flexible gardener who is passionate about sharing the aspirations of a dirt artist.

A Garden of My Own
Place: Trumbull Arts & Nature Center. Type of Program: team of 2.
The Trumbull Arts & Nature Center wanted to implement a gardening program for children of mixed ages. This six-week program followed the basic format of the Junior Master Gardner Program. The preparation of getting “assistants” from the nearby assisted living facility, corporate sponsors, participation of nearby nurseries to serve as speakers and provide material, putting together a curriculum, keeping in contact with the organization to make sure that we were all on the same page, took a great deal of time and ended up being the real learning experience. The program that evolved, "A Garden of My Own", addressed everything on a child’s level. Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances, the program never took place. Thus, the value was in the learning. The program could be implemented in different settings with different ages.

4H Group
Place: Milford , CT. Type of Program: single presentation.
The hand-out for this group of 20 teenagers and parents was an adaptation of the one I made for “A Garden of my Own”. After speaking with the leader of this group, I encouraged him to find out more specifically what type of gardening they wanted to do (flowers, vegetables) and the type of gardens they would be using (i.e. raised beds, community gardens, etc.). Because the group was from Milford, I decided to involve other Milford gardeners/ environmentalist. One person demonstrated how to build a raised bed by having the kids actually construct a bed in the classroom. The other person spoke about community gardens, the importance of composting and how to make a compost bin out of a garbage can. I spoke about the University of Connecticut Extension Service, the importance of soil testing and the thrill of sowing a seed and watching it grow. The teenagers were engaged (as were the parents) and learned something while having fun.

Deloitte vols plant a tree

Impact Day, Trumbull Arts & Nature Center

A corporate day of volunteerism by Deloitte at the Trumbull Arts and Nature Center. The challenge was to clear the property of invasives and other overgrown plants as well as to plant new trees and shrubs. Master Gardeners were asked to help with this challenge serving as a source of information.

Pictured at right: Deloitte volunteers prepare to plant a tree