New Students Visit Local Gardens

Yesterday nearly 40 incoming students from the Class of 2013 took a CKP tour from 5710 S. Woodlawn down to the Brickyard Garden on 61st and Woodlawn.  The students are part of a special early program for incoming first-years, and are visiting many parts of the University before the school year starts with fall quarter.  CKP Director Bart Schultz, interns Cecilia Donnelly and Rachel Belanger, and Master Gardener Dorothy Pytel were all on hand to give brief presentations and answer questions about what the CKP does in the University and its surrounding knowledge communities.

Dr. Schultz led off by reading a quote from CKP founder Danielle Allen, and describing the importance of exploring the neighboring communities around the University.  He strongly encouraged the incoming students to explore the city outside of Hyde Park, and to be involved in activities off-campus.  Many undergraduate students at the University tend to spend their whole time here without venturing very far south of the Midway, and Dr. Schultz argued that this interferes with a complete education.

Cecilia Donnelly spoke briefly about the wonders of working with the CKP, especially because it is so interdisciplinary, flexible, and such a wonderful opportunity to meet exciting people.  Personal Note: Students!  Join the Green Team!  The CKP Wants YOU for Sustainable Initiatives!

Fourth-year Environmental Studies major Rachel Belanger spoke about Feeding the City, a program taught by Geophysical Sciences assistant professor Pam Martin, assisted by Esther Bowen, a graduate student in the Geophysical Sciences department.  Rachel is interning at Growing Home in Englewood.  Her internship is supported by the CKP, and she spoke about the unique experience of farming in the city.  She followed Dr. Schultz’ point about students experiencing different parts of the city by saying that is has been a challenge to ensure that she is always safe while commuting to and from Growing Home, but it has also expanded her horizons.  Growing Home gives job training to people who were formerly inmates and/or homeless.  Working with these people, and learning about organic farming, has combined to give Rachel a memorable summer.

Walking from 5710 to the Brickyard Garden.

Walking from 5710 to the Brickyard Garden.

 Finally, we walked down to the Brickyard Garden and heard Dorothy Pytel’s brief history of the garden, and a description of community gardening in general.  The Brickyard Garden has 20-25 member plots, as well as several common spaces where grapes, black raspberries, and lots of flowers grow.


Dorothy Pytel explains the history of the Brickyard Garden.

Dorothy Pytel explains the history of the Brickyard Garden.

After our introduction to the space, everyone entered the garden and explored.  We were impressed by the numbers of green grapes on the vine, tomatoes ripening in individual plots, and a thousand other things.  Dorothy offered everyone mint and dill, and some tried the alpine strawberries and black raspberries growing in common areas.  A few of the new students went home with armfuls of mint to make tea and chew on plain.

Thank you to the gardeners at the Brickyard Garden for your hospitality, and thank you to the new students who participated in the event!  Come back to our Meet the CKP event on September 24, the Thursday of Orientation Week.  Look for more information on that forthcoming on the CKP main page and on this blog.

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