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Children's Garden Center of Harvest Festival

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
October 3, 2007

The Child Study and Development Center held its annual Harvest Festival last week, providing family members the opportunity to explore the garden their children have been tending all spring and summer.

The children led moms and dads and grandparents and siblings down the path to where purple and green beans, tomatoes, squash and pumpkins were growing. Kids stood in line to get their faces painted or to take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon. Some of the children tried to eat donuts dangling from a string while the younger kids sifted sand to find colored plastic shapes.

Parents sampled bread made from zucchini grown in the community garden and pickles made from its cucumbers. There were also baskets of apples that the kids had picked a few days earlier.

“The Harvest Festival is both an opportunity to welcome new families to the center and to celebrate the children’s efforts in the children’s garden. The garden is the centerpiece of the center’s “Growing a Green Generation” project,” says John Nimmo, associate professor of family studies and the executive director of the center.

Funded through the Anna and Raymond Tuttle Environmental Horticulture Endowment, Growing a Green Generation is a 10-year collaboration between horticulture experts in COLSA and the Cooperative Extension and early childhood teachers and faculty at CSDC. The project includes an annual conference for educators at the CSDC and the UNH greenhouses, consultancy outreach, and a curriculum handbook.

“The garden is a place for making meaningful connections for young children between the natural world and our social need to create a harvest. We are very aware that children’s ideas and efforts must be appreciated as a significant part of our broader vision for sustainability,” Nimmo said.

The CSDC’s commitment to the environment is also evident in its new natural playground, designed around natural landscaping features and the use of trees, shrubs and rocks, rather than expensive pre-fabricated structures. Almost completed, the playground was funded with the help of the UNH Parents Association and the UNH Foundation.

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