Well, now that we’re all settling down into our routines, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce all of the readers to this year’s EDU-Garden® team.
Mr. Gus is an all-around favorite who can do most anything! He worked in the EDU-Garden® with me a couple of years ago and admits learning so much about eating vegetables, some he never ate before! He is an excellent cook, and now he adds new dishes to his Spanish cooking. Speaking Spanish makes so many kids feel comfortable with him. He builds chicken coops and rabbit fences and laughs a lot! He is also the bus driver for when the Lighthouse students visit us at Riverside.
Speaking of Lighthouse, we have a great team over there, too! Mrs. Ancona is a terrific teacher who also speaks Spanish because she was born in Mexico! The kids learn so much about nature and gardening from her. She also worked in the EDU-Garden® last year with me and then went back to the elementary school, where she will be starting a small EDU-Garden® there. There is no one better to do that; she loves gardening and her background at a Waldorf School is central to her innovative teaching methods. She draws with old crayons and I am dying to take lessons from her! She tries to slow the kids down and teach them to be more mindful of their surroundings and their interactions. I watched her one day leading them through a walking exercise, it was amazing!
We are also glad to have Ms. Molly Traynham over at Lighthouse, who is learning lots from Mrs. Ancona too! She has a small group of students that she works with in environmental science.
Here at Riverside, we are happy to have Ms. Katie Chellemi back this year! Ms. Katie has a big beautiful smile and just looks like one of the kids herself! Sometimes I have a hard time spotting her among them. She brings a background in Marine Biology to the EDU-Garden® and her transition from fish to farming is a lot of fun for her, I can just tell! She teaches our 8th grade Biology class for the second year too. On Saturdays when she comes to take care of the rabbits and chickens and water the garden, she brings her surfboard (if the surf is up) and spends the rest of the day doing her favorite sport!
Now, last but by no means least, we have Ms. Samantha Weiner and she loves, loves, loves the garden! She came by happenstance as a volunteer and once she saw the garden, she was smitten! She has worked with Outward Bound, so she lends a different approach to teaching kids about the wilderness and all things Nature. She approaches everything with wide-eyed wonder, another beautiful smile, and her contagious enthusiasm!
Well, actually, I guess Ms. Samantha is the last one. Some of you readers may be wondering “who is this person doing all of the introductions?” Well, that would be me, Mrs. Pat, as the kids say, co-founder of the EDU-Garden®. I bring to all this my passion for kids, for nature and the environment and a vision that includes fostering curiosity and compassion so that we might build a better world for generations to come. I am grateful for a team who shares that vision!