Garden Project "Grows" at CDC
July 11, 2012
U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal, Mich. -- Detroit Arsenal employees who enjoy well-maintained grounds may want to take a walk around the Child Development Center to check out its ever-changing landscaping.
The flowers, gardens, and ongoing irrigation project are due to the efforts of kids with the Middle School and Teen Program. "I like how we're getting exposure to the kids," stated Courtney Banks, 16, Child Development Center volunteer and Middle School and Teen Program participant. "The kids are able to see what gardening is about. And they're able to see fresh produce in the making instead of getting them out of cans." Annika Prall-Stankewitz, 12, has picked up a few new skills. She explained, "We're learning how to pull out weeds and we're going to do a windmill program."
The windmill program is part of a larger effort to create what Child Youth Program Assistant Dave Galer calls, "a self-sustaining irrigation system for our existing garden project which includes two rainwater collection systems tied into our building's downspouts." Galer is responsible for the garden, which he says is completely organic and free of pesticides. He leads MST program kids through meetings and a few hours of outdoor work two days a week as they beautify the CDC's grounds. His plan involves moving the water with a windmill that he and the kids will build to learn/teach how to minimize water waste by capturing rain water and distributing it at the root level of fruit and vegetable plants directly. Funding for the project comes from a $1,400 youth educators grant that Galer requested from the University of Minnesota. Middle School and Teen-related programs have also benefited from $500 micro-grants from 4-H. DTA employees can easily see how the project is progressing by looking for the buckets with the hand prints, which will eventually be connected to tubing to distribute water to the flower beds.
"We didn't want the same garden week after week," said Galer, "We wanted people to come in every couple weeks to see what's new. And that's an important part of our planning process. We're planning an S-shaped tunnel that kids can walk through that's made of Morning Glories that will vine over to create a living tunnel. We're working on a wild flower garden right now out in the bus circle. So we'll have the kids throw wild seed flower out there to see what develops from that." Some sights that people can now enjoy include several varieties of flowers in addition to a smiling plant person sitting on the bench by the CDCD's playground, who's made entirely out of flower pots and plants.