On Tuesday, July 3rd Rep. Williams’s interns Emily and Grayson spent the night volunteering at Waters Elementary School’s Organic School and Community Garden. The garden provides a wonderful way to become involved with environmental conservation at the local level. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of food sustainability in our community.
The garden hosts community garden nights every Wednesday, starting around 5 pm and going until around 8 pm from mid-March to early November (barring extreme weather).
The Waters Garden is both a school and community garden and a native plant garden, anchored by 300-plus year-old Burr Oak trees. It is the home base for the Waters Ecology program and is also used as a research site by local scientists and conservationists. It is a natural play space for the students and a community gathering space for Waters garden community potlucks, drum circles, campfires, and more. The garden is cared for and maintained by students (during the school year), parents, and many dedicated community volunteers (year-round). Gardeners from near and far come to pull weeds, harvest berries, haul compost, collect seeds, plant vegetables, and transplant natives.
The garden was founded by Waters Ecology Director, Pete Leki. Garden night is coordinated by the garden manager, Julie Peterson, who’s been one of many gardeners and who’s helped steward the native gardens for 15 years. There are cold frames and raised beds where greens and other veggies are planted. Students enjoy the harvest during the school year, and gardeners during the summer. Surplus veggies are shared with community-oriented organizations (such as First Slice, and ‘Circle of Help’ at Waters for students from low-income families). There are also individual plots available to those willing to put in some volunteer time helping to maintain the garden.
Their work is often followed by a potluck (nut-free) and sharing of stories or songs. Anyone who loves nature and community is invited to join the Waters Garden by attending a community garden night and subscribing to the garden newsletter at this link.