Children, parents and guests were present at the Iola Children’s Garden site Aug. 25, to celebrate the growing season and the completion of the 12-week gardening program.
A total of 17 children participated in this summer’s classes.
Now celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Iola Children’s Garden is part of the River Road Community Garden. Dorothy Shaver, garden class coordinator, estimates that more than 350 children have benefited from the classes during the past 10 years.
The children’s program is supported by donations from the community including the Waupaca County Master Gardeners, Iola Garden Club, Scandinavia Garden Club, Tri-Valley Gardeners, Iola Lions Club, Iola Lioness Club, Faulks Brothers Construction, St. Mary of Mount Carmel Altar Rosary Society, Sunset Acres, Beyer’s Briar Patch and Iola IGA.
This year, the children practiced square foot gardening. They selected vegetables and flowers to plant in their own 4×4-foot raised garden. They also built scarecrows, had a frog jumping contest with live frogs, learned how to use a compass, had a family garden picnic complete with a magic show and painted concrete scalloped edging for garden markers.
The children also learned about gardening by the moon, nutrition, good bugs and bad bugs, companion planting and soil. Guest presenters included Janet Buetow, Mark Saunders, Tom and Sue King, Pamela Parks and Barb Kobs. Instructors this summer were Oni Hendricks (ages 4 to 7) and Dorothy Shaver (ages 8 to 12). Nancy Weasner was the photographer.
On the last class day, the children listened to the story of “Stone Soup” and then gathered vegetable from their gardens to contribute to our own “stone soup.” Garden helpers scrubbed and stir fried the veggies and added them to the magic soup. Helpers this year were Jean Medway, Kandy Frye, Linda Hetzer, Marian Schmidt and Pamela Parks.
While the soup was simmering, the children stepped up to the podium one by one while the Olympic theme music played and received their certificate “medal of gardening.”
It was a great year and the children (and helpers) had a lot of fun.
The children will continue to harvest their produce and in October, all of the gardens will be put to sleep.
If you would like to donate time or money to support this project, call Dorothy Shaver at 715-445-4623.