Wednesday, February 3, 2010

UCF Arboretum at Organic Grower's Meeting


Tina Richards is the Environmental Educator and Program Coordinator for the UCF Arboretum. Tina coordinates the volunteer program, conducts educational tours and workshops, and supports the internship and service-learning students.
She spoke to us at our January Organic Grower’s meeting. We meet every 3rd Wednesday at Leu Gardens, 7pm.
Tina brought a slide show that pictured the amazing, only a year old, UCF Arboretum! Her slides showcased the tons of work that has been done to bring about this fantastic opportunity for people to learn, hands on about organic gardening up close and community gardening at large. Tina Richards, on left, and her friends Sarah Benjamin, center and June Draznin, on the right spoke to us of the challenges and the triumphs of what their year with this immense project has brought them. A serious lack of funding and hungry deer who jump the fences have forced them to come up with inventive solutions. They made seed cups out of newspaper. What a great idea and biodegradable! They sell the produce at the Audubon Market in Orlando. http://apmarket.wordpress.com
They give the produce and herbs and extra plants away too! Here is another reason to come out and volunteer! The public is invited to help with everything from building up the plant beds, to planting seeds, weeding, and harvesting. Check the website for volunteer information. arboretum.ucf.edu or call 407-823-3583
Teachers from elementary schools bring their students out for field trips. Tina quipped “One of the best parts of my job is watching a little kid surprised to see where a watermelon comes from then nibble on it’s sweetness.”
Yes! Living ”simply” is showing the next generation and each other the bounty that comes from from just tickling the earth a bit with a hoe and seed and loving it with a sprinkle of water. That bounty is not only the succulent veggies, fruits and herbs that are raised but also the experience of being outside with our hands in the dirt feeling the living earth. Come over to the UCF Arboretum and grow with us!

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