This spring marks the seventh season of the award-winning Green Teens Youth Gardening Program and now is the time to register for this opportunity.
This after-school youth program which has earned top awards from National, New England, and State Garden Club associations is designed for students in 6th-10th grade. Pam Nobumoto and Laurie Musilli, Chairs of the Wilton Garden Club’s Youth Gardening Committee, lead this program which takes place at the Trackside Teen Center in the heart of Wilton. Students can take school buses or be dropped off directly from school to the gardens at Trackside. The program begins the first week in May and runs every Wednesday for six weeks until mid-June. Once school begins again in the fall, meetings continue on Wednesdays after school until it’s time to winterize the garden, usually around the beginning of November.
Green Teens participate in hands-on activities in all aspects of the garden: designing garden beds, planting methods (direct sow, plugs, transplants, companion planting), proper pruning and maintenance, irrigation (watering needs, usage, and conservation strategies), identification of invasive versus beneficial plants and insects, benefits and importance of using native plants, harvesting, and learning how to incorporate the produce they grow into a healthy daily diet. Guest speakers from Ambler Farm and Wilton High School also offer their expertise to the young gardeners and often serve as role models for them.
The goals of the program are to get more young people involved with creating and maintaining organic vegetable gardens, to teach youth about the importance of healthy foods, engage them in sustainability and pollination while learning how to give back to the community. An average of two hundred pounds of produce that the Youth Gardeners plant in the spring is tended, harvested, washed, and donated each week during the growing season to the Wilton Food Pantry where oftentimes fresh produce is lacking. The students also make sure our Senior Center is stocked with the freshly picked flowers they grow. The Trackside Youth Team plant a lot more than food and flowers; they plant many smiles from what they sow.