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Youth Park Rangers Visit Healthy Haven Gardens

By: Nia Alexander

On Tuesday, July 19, 2016 a group of youth Park Rangers from the Jessie Allen Park (JAP) Summer Program took a tour through the Heart Of Vailsburg (HOV) Healthy Haven Gardens located at 69 Norwood Street and 1068 18th Avenue in Vailsburg. The JAP Park Rangers were given a tour by the UVSO Department of Community Outreach & Planning’s (DCOP) Outreach Coordinator, Pamela Daniels and DCOP interns Jenia, Nia, Ny’Janah, Kamieha, and Taylor.

At the Norwood Garden Haven, the Park Rangers learned about the different plants growing in the garden and found out that they were organic and edible. They learned that there were herbs and vegetables in both gardens, and that the Vailsburg Garden Committee has managed both gardens for five years.

The rangers were given tips on how to use the herbs in the garden, which were Rosemary, Spearmint, Basil, Thai Basil, Parsley, Sage, Dill, and Oregano. Some chose to harvest herbs, while others harvested Collard Greens, Cucumbers, and Tomatoes. A myriad of pictures were taken of the rangers enjoying the scenery. Some of the rangers were from the neighborhood and never knew the garden was there! Those who harvested were eager to take home their goodies and put them to good use!

At the conclusion of the tour, which ended at the 18th Avenue Garden Haven, the JAP program director, Rhenotha Whittaker, quizzed her students on what they learned. She started out simply with, “What does HOV stand for?” One of the Park rangers answered, “Heart of Vailsburg!” and was rewarded with “You’ve earned your snack!” The next question that was asked was, “What color tomatos did they pick?” Another Park Ranger answered, “Green tomatoes.” Ms. Whittaker followed up with, “What is the best way to prepare green tomatoes,” and a ranger fired back “fry them!” She too earned a snack. The final question asked was, “What type of herbs were there?” One Ranger said, “Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary and Basil.” Some other rangers followed up with hands raised showing their spearmint and parsley. (they forgot dill and that spicy thai basil!)

After trivia the Jesse Allen Park Park Rangers took a group photo on the garden stage to commemorate the grand tour. Additional photos of the tour are posted on the UVSO Facebook page for viewing. Feel free to share the album!

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