The Payne Family Branch started its new “Youth Grow” Garden Program to provide members a wonderful opportunity to get back to nature, learn how they can make a difference in the environment and also grow natural food to help live a healthy lifestyle.
Recently, Club members and two parent volunteers transplanted donated Meyer lemon fruit trees. The kids loved getting their little hands in the soil, being careful not to disturb the delicate roots as they transplanted the trees to their new home. They also planted a pollinator garden across from the lemon trees to attract the much needed bees, and hopefully in the near future, raise monarch butterflies.
One member said about transplanting the trees, "I loved helping nature and it felt nice to help the Club. When I planted the trees I felt at peace." Another participant stated, "I had fun getting dirty and helping the Earth."
In addition, members learned the true story of the Nobel Peace prize winner Wangari Maathai, who used her passion to transform the landscape of her country, Kenya, and inspired a whole nation to follow her lead and heal the earth through planting trees. The kids all agreed that they could do this on a local scale to transform our Club to inspire other kids and also parents to plant trees and help the clean up pollution.
Branch Manager Sommer Cartier said, "I love that I can see Maathai’s words come to life every time I work with children in the garden. I see kids become curious, inquisitive, and even compassionate as they delicately handle the plants with great care. Gardens can be therapeutic and provide a space for even the most challenged person to slow down, connect and live in the moment."
Over the next month, the plan is to add more fruit trees and install an edible garden where the kids can connect with their natural environment and learn how to cultivate life!