City Garden Becomes a Classroom
For nearly20 years PEP consumers have helped plant and maintain PEP's courtyard garden and prepare it for competing in the annual Philadelphia Horticultural Society City Garden Contest. In the process the consumers have learned to appreciate and identify a variety of plants and trees, to start plants from seeds, and transplant and cultivate them. They have also created a refreshing oasis for themselves, PEP staff, and visitors. These efforts have not gone unnoticed, PEP received first place honors in the 2003 Pennsylvania Horticultural Society - City Gardens contest, Second Place honors in 2006 and third place in 2009 and first place again in 2011.
To extend these opportunities to others in the community, PEP is expanding this program to host garden tours, education, and activities for neighborhood preschool and elementary school children. The goal is to enhance classroom science and environmental education for children who have minimal exposure to nature. In addition, the children will have the opportunity to integrate with PEP consumers who have developmental disabilities as they work together on garden projects.
Teachers from a nearby Head Start Program have been the first to bring their students to experience the garden classroom. About 150 preschoolers participated in the garden planting day by touring the garden, observing the planting process and planting seeds. Some of the classes returned to observe how the garden was growing and one class brought butterflies to release onto the garden's butterfly bush. The preschool classes will participate in garden projects each month based on a curriculum that PEP staff and the preschools collaborated on.
Garden Renovation Project
To prepare the garden for the increased number of people it will serve PEP engaged the Community Design Collaborative (CDC) of AIA Philadelphia whose volunteers created a design for the garden renovation and a comprehensive street scape plan. Our gardens were renovated in Spring 2008 with new walkways, bed layouts and planting. With a new canvas to work with PEP consumers continue to add elements of design, whimsy and beautiful plantings to the garden beds each year.
The Gardens are available for rent for social events and meetings, making a splendid back drop for wedding photos, casual get togethers or more formal events. If you would like more information about the garden project at PEP or would like to volunteer time or contribute financially to the project please contact our Development Office.
For more information, please contact:
Mark Valentine, CFRE
1200 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146
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