With educational tools added to ornamental trees and plants, the new Steveston Educational Garden will be more than merely a place to sit back and relax.
The inspiring project combining nature’s beauty and education is currently being developed on the lawn east of the Martial Arts centre, next to the community centre’s parking lot.
The idea of an educational garden originated from a growing passion for green within the community, said Charmis De Boer, who is involved with the development of the project.
“As a result of a growing community, more community gardens have been developed. And I’ve been hearing much more about gardening and the educational component to it,” she said.
Once the board approved the plan of the educational garden, it took two year to raise sufficient funds to make the project sustainable.
Now in the early stages of elaboration, the garden is located within a walking distance for Steveston residents.
The project is characterized by an intergenerational approach, with children and seniors included in the target audience. “There are four major senior centres nearby the garden, so we hope seniors will find their way to the garden and into the educational program,” said De Boer, adding the community is currently faced with a growing senior population.
A fun and educational opportunity for children will be found at the pizza garden, where ingredients such as herbs and tomatoes will be grown in a pizza-shaped garden bed.
While older visitors will be able to pass on their knowledge of gardening to younger generations, children will be able to see where their food comes from, as well as to learn more on the sustainability and importance of clean eating.
Other ideas and learning possibilities will be guided by the interaction of residents along the way.
Furthermore, people living in apartments and condominiums will be able to grow their own food in containers.
The entire area will be accessible for hikes, wheelchairs and strollers. “It has a solid terrain and the height of garden beds will range from ground to standing level, so it is comfortable and accessible for everyone,” said De Boer.
The project has received a warm welcome, she added, saying the reaction of community members has been “wonderful.” While many have already stepped forward to volunteer, write or teach, residents are still invited to take part in the project, as it will benefit from gardening expertise and the exchange of thoughts and ideas.
For those interested in the volunteering program or the concept in general, a meeting will be held Jan. 15 at Steveston Community Centre, from 7 p.m. onwards, to discuss the garden’s future. Volunteer applications can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, addressed to Charmis De Boer.