NAS Whidbey Youth Center Children's Garden Club has been an educational project of the Island County Master Gardeners since 1999. The location changed to the newer and larger Youth Center in 2004. Jane Adams has been the coordinator since 1999 taking over from Christie Chapman, an instructor at the old youth center.
The children repeat their pledge at the beginning of each Garden Club session.
“Welcome to the Youth Center Garden Club. We will try to be gentle with the plants that we grow, share tools, and help our fellow gardeners; and to learn the Laws of Mother Nature.”
The pledge is followed by hand signals and the words, “plant a seed, pat it down, water it, and watch it grow.”
The Garden Club is organized, planned, and operated by Master Gardener volunteers. Island County Master Gardeners have provided funds to purchase those many needed products to restart and clean up the vegetable, herb, and flower gardens each year. In 2008, a large permanent greenhouse was donated by Denise Bowden, a local resident that had the greenhouse in her barn in a box for 32 years! Richard “Dick” and Sallie Peterson (MG) spent many hours of research and construction work to bring the greenhouse to life. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on September 26th giving the Bowden-Peterson an official opening.
We have received support from the Navy. They paid for and provided an employee (Duane Nienhuis) to help build a 7-½ foot deer fence around the 75-foot by 90-foot main garden, and most recently around a 70-foot by 140-foot by 110-foot triangular supplemental area. The Safe Program Director purchases tools, garden gloves for the children occasionally.
We work with 20 to 28 elementary (usually 2nd to 4th graders) school children that are a part of the School Age Care Programs from March through October. They use the garden as part of their activities program.
Goals of the Program. Our main goal is to help the kids enjoy gardening and to make a garden of which they can be proud. We enjoy teaching the children about plants and gardening; and learning from them about their interests and experiences. Each Monday afternoon we begin by talking about different gardening subjects or experiments. We help them plant seeds, bulbs, and tubers, start cuttings; divide perennials; layer shrubs and plant runners. Sometimes they take home the plants started in the classroom but most become part of our garden. After gardening they have snack time eating fruits or vegetables they have grown.