Behind the Scenes of In the Weeds

In the Weeds with Christine

As many of you know, we’ve started a little video series with our education specialist Christine Gall called In the Weeds. Each month, Christine shares a favorite lesson plan from one of our curriculum books and does a quick demonstration. She also shares a few features about the book and what audience it might be most appropriate for.

If you haven’t seen any of our In the Weeds videos, I encourage you to check them out on our YouTube channel, or on our In the Weeds page on our website. We share the latest video in our newsletter, KidsGarden News, each month.

In the Weeds
Sometimes it's cold out there for our In the Weeds video shoots!

One common theme you may notice is that Christine always LOVES the book she’s showcasing. This is, in fact, true, and not just for the camera. We end up using a new copy of each book for each episode because Christine’s copies are so dog-eared and full of sticky notes. She’s a garden educator, and really uses all of these materials!

One thing you may not know is that we give away a copy of the featured curriculum each month. We run these promotions on Facebook and Instagram, so be sure to follow us there in order to be able to enter these giveaways if you’re interested in a particular curriculum book.

I would be really bad at my job as a marketing director if I didn’t also point out that all our curriculum books are for sale through Gardeners Supply Company.

Schools and educational institutions can receive a 25% discount off the regular retail price for items from Gardener’s Supply (discount cannot be applied on top of other discounts). To take advantage of this discount, you must contact Holly-Ruth Stocking at 802-861-7127 or 888-560-1037 and place your order by phone (not available through online shopping at this time). Please mention source code KGO2018.

We hope you like watching In the Weeds as much as we like creating the content. Can I leave you with one of my favorite In the Weeds bloopers? Christine was extra-enthusiastic during a lesson on how seeds travel and got this burr stuck in her hair.

Celebrating Pollinators

Celebrating Pollinators

Pull out the party hats --- or better yet the antennae headbands --- next week, June 17th-23rd is National Pollinator Week!

Established through a Senate Resolution in 2007, National Pollinator Week was established to help bring attention to declining pollinator populations. More than 150 common food crops, from avocados to zucchini (and most importantly chocolate and coffee), rely directly on pollinators to move pollen among flowers to facilitate fertilization, which ultimately leads to the development of fruits and seeds. Beyond human food crops, an estimated 75% of all flowering plants rely on pollinators so the impact of declining pollinator numbers has significant implications for ecosystems across the globe.

Fortunately, efforts to bring attention to this crisis are showing signs of success.  For example, as part of the National Pollinator Garden Network, KidsGardening helped promote the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge with the goal of creating networks of home and community gardens across the country to provide habitats for pollinators.  This February the collaborative team proudly announced reaching our goal of having over 1,000,000 pollinator friendly sites registered. Data collected and shared in a final impact report indicated that the Challenge went far beyond the registered sites showing that it led to a shift in consumer awareness, and wider actions such as pro-pollinator pledges, proclamations and policies. Since the campaign launch, 92 percent of garden centers have seen an increase in demand for pollinator-friendly plants and services and 86 percent are offering more pollinator-friendly plants, services, and education.  It is not too late to join!  You can continue to register your pollinator garden and be part of the initiative.

Looking for specific activity ideas for how engage your youth garden program participants during National Pollinator Week? Explore the new Pollinator Patch Program created through our partnership with Cabot Creamery Co-operative. The guide offers activities designed to help participants understand the importance of pollinators in our world and teach them practical ways they can help protect and preserve pollinator populations. After completing the activities you can request free Pollinator Patches for each of your participants.

Here are some additional resources you may want to investigate this Pollinator Week:

Wild for Pollinators

Supporting pollinator habitats can be as simple as leaving an unmowed area of your yard to allow natural habitat to develop. Visit our Wild for Pollinator webpage for more information and to find links to many of our KidsGardening pollinator resources.

2019 Pollinator Poster

Educators can request up to 5 free copies of the 2019 Pollinator Poster showing endangered pollinators and their habitats from the USDA National Resources Conservation Service.  Complete details about the animals and plant pictured can be found on the Pollinator Partnership website.

Ecoregional Planting Guides

Check out Pollinator.org to download detailed planting guides that offer in depth information about native pollinators and plants in your area.

Pollinators from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

From podcasts to educational resources, The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has put together an impressive collection of pollinator related links to help you learn more.

Happy Pollinator Week everyone! Don’t forget to thank all the bees, hummingbirds, moths, bats, butterflies, flies and beetles you see for all their hard work next week!

Oakbrook Elementary School Garden Build

garden build

For the fifth year in a row, KidsGardening partnered with PT Holdings, a company based in Addison, IL, to build a school garden in the suburbs of Chicago as part of their Giving Back Initiative. One month ago, members of the KidsGardening team headed out to Oakbrook Elementary School in Wood Dale, IL, to install a dream garden with the help of over 100 volunteers.

Despite a chilly and rainy start to the day, PT Holdings staff and members of the Oakbrook community accomplished an impressive number of projects. We built a large storage shed, an arbor, twelve benches, three tumbler compost bins, and six raised garden beds. These raised beds were filled with 10 yards of soil, topped off with compost, and planted with an assortment of veggies and herbs. We also installed 80 feet of fencing around the new garden space to deter any deer from snacking on students’ plants.

Beyond this fenced in garden, volunteers also created an in-ground pollinator garden, weeded and mulched large sections of a pre-existing perennial landscape, and beautified the school’s entrance. All-in-all, it was a full morning of hard (but also fun) work!

Below you can see some pictures from this awesome event.