Memorial Garden Club: We’re Buggin’ Out!

The weather was cloudy on Thursday but that didn’t stop the brand new Memorial Garden Club from having fun!   Meeting for our second week of the club, the group went over to the Community Garden beds when we first arrived to check on the lettuce we planted the week before. The plants are appreciating the rainy weather and growing strong! We looked around to see if we could tell what was growing in the other beds, finding onions, mustard greens, and zucchini to name a few! Destiny and Mikai also checked on the watermelons they helped Ms. Alicia transplant last week.

After spending time in the garden we went back to the stage area to talk about bugs in the garden. Building on last week’s activities where we searched the garden for helpful and harmful bugs and insects, this week we had a chance to imagine our own garden critters. Some kids also filled out worksheets to come up with a “scientific” name for their bug and describe its habitat and diet. Check out the colorful and crazy results!

Mikai’s bug was cute enough already, but with a curly tail this little guy is complete!

Ameenah’s bug had big eyes and a colorful feather. Its wild-cherry tail is from one of Memorial Garden’s trees. Destiny made an “Ice Cream Cone Head Bug” with 5 legs and a long pink tongue for grabbing its food.

These imaginative creations drew some real bees to our worksite and inspired a conversation about the way flowers use bright colors to attract good insects and bugs. Ms. Awinda taught that while this is true, flower’s colors are also based on genetics. Afterward, Destiny made a nest of eggs (full of baby Ice Cream Bugs?) and Ameenah made a fancy pot!

Meanwhile, Haneeyah was inspired by slugs in her backyard to create a carnivorous masterpiece. It may look cute but the pink feather is really a trick to attract other bugs that it will eat with its blue fangs. Its habitat is the woods or other places with lots of plants where it can find a tasty snack!

After describing our bug’s habitats and diets, we were all pretty hungry. Mikai, Dvay and Ameenah helped cut up tomatoes and green, red and purple peppers from the farm and we tried them all. While no one was a big fan of raw tomato, we mixed the tomatoes and peppers together to make a make-shift salsa to dip our Cheese-Its in. Ms. Awinda’s horticultural expertise came to the rescue while we debated the age old question: “Tomato: Vegetable or Fruit?!” – turns out the answer is both! Botanically they are fruit, but in cooking it’s considered a vegetable.

After our snack some of the kids who arrived late got to make bugs and the rest of us headed back to the community garden beds to spruce things up before the day was over! We weeded out a bunch of big plants growing in the wood chips, talked about what makes something a “weed” and how important it is to get roots out so they don’t grow back.

Equipped with brand new kid-sized gloves, Destiny won a tug-of-war with a bright red root. She wanted to play pretend that she was the gardener and Ms. Addie was the kid, but to anyone who’s seen her attack stubborn intruder plants it’s clear Destiny is the real deal!

While digging up weeds Ameenah (an aspiring archeologist) started a Memorial Garden Club rock collection. Haneeyah ended the day by having us hold our trowels in our right hands and recite her “Garden Pledge of Allegiance” and we all promised to keep the garden beautiful and protect our plants.

 – Addie Ansell

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