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Volunteers Help Kids Find Green Thumbs

Learning to love gardening usually starts when the idea of picking up a handful of worms still seems like fun, i.e. when you’re a kid.  Just ask Barbara Collier, the past president of the Garden Education Center of Greenwich , or Nancy Chapin, a member of the Board and a volunteer parent at the Center.  They’ve just seen the successful conclusion of a two-week summer program for a group of preschoolers who have spent three hours a day planting seeds in the Teich vegetable garden, learning to tell the difference between a weed and a growing plant and picking tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.

The Garden Education Center is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to promoting horticulture, conservation and the arts through educational programs, outreach activities and special events.  Set on 200 acres in Cos Cob on property deeded to the Town of Greenwich by Colonel Robert Montgomery in the 1950s, the Garden Center is run by three full-time staff, including a horticulturist, and a group of dedicated volunteers.

“The Center is a unique organization in that it provides an on-going calendar of horticultural events together with a dedicated gallery space for art exhibits,” said Barbara, who has spent the past two years working tirelessly for the organization.  Working together with the Greenwich Public Schools, the Center has set up a program to bring elementary school children to the center to learn about gardening and growing food as part of their science, math and history curriculum.

Nancy Chapin has spent hours and hours in the vegetable garden this spring and summer.  “My passion is sustainable living and connecting people with nature,” she explained.  “I was first inspired to become involved with the Center when my children were taken to a grocery store to learn where their food came from!”  She had just harvested an armful of colorful beets and zucchini.  Part of the harvest from the Education Center is donated to Neighbor to Neighbor , the Greenwich food pantry.

The Garden Education Center of Greenwich can be reached at:  130 Bible Street, Cos Cob.  Telephone (203) 869 9242

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