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During the summer of 2017, our summer camp participants at Hale Reservation learned about growing a vegetable garden and the joy of success when the work put into it returned a harvest big enough to feed both campers and staff.
By Scott McLeod, PhD
We had an addition to our summer programs at Hale Reservation this year: a new vegetable garden! Frequent readers of the Aspire Wire will have already seen some amazing photographs of the garden. The photo to the right is just a small sample of the harvest.
Here is a list of just a few of the plants: zucchini, peas, carrot, watermelon, tomatoes and bush beans. From the start of camp this summer, our campers watered, weeded and learned about the growth of vegetables. We watched the bees pollinate the flowers. We learned about the need for water and space and sun.
The campers also learned to identify the right time for harvest. And we found recipes that fed dozens of hungry staff and campers on any given day. Of course, each and every activity required peers to work together. Soon, campers found their specialty: some loved weeding. Others loved harvesting. Others loved watering.
The gate entrance to the garden was treated with tremendous respect. Without any posting of rules, campers sought permission to enter the garden. The campers approached the plants with real caution and tenderness. They treated the garden as a place where magical things happened. And they did.
My predecessor, Michael Cauley, PhD, loves to garden. When he lived in Massachusetts, he raised enough vegetables to feed a small town. Every summer, nearly every summer staffer would take home the produce of his garden. Mike enjoys gardening and giving. In retirement, he bought a farm in Wisconsin. There, he continues his tradition of growing and sharing food. The only difference is that the quantity is even more massive.
David and Stephanie Long noticed and appreciated Mike’s longstanding contribution to Aspire and to the clients we serve. They enlisted the services of Kirsti Moestue who executed the vision of the garden wonderfully.
We are extremely grateful for the Long’s ongoing generosity and for Kirsti’s skill. Moreover, I am thrilled to maintain my friendship with Mike Cauley and for Aspire to have the opportunity to benefit from him via the gift of the garden. Be sure to join us again next summer at Hale to see the magic happen again!
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