Friday, June 26, 2015

Volunteers help support UDC's sensory gardens

On Friday, June 19, several CAUSES staffers and community volunteers came out to tend to the UDC Garden of the Senses. Thanks to a grant from the Verizon Foundation, the gardens were first created to represent the senses of vision, smell and touch. 

Several Ward 3 community volunteers worked alongside CAUSES staff to give the gardens a little TLC after 2015's extended winter. Two of those volunteers, Mary Beth Tinker and Keshini Ladduwahetty, shared their thoughts on the community service gardening project.

"Projects like these are absolutely critical for UDC and CAUSES because we are at a turning point in this country and in this city in terms of developing urban agriculture. It's a huge part of the whole sustainability movement and there is no other institution that can do it except for the landgrant university, explained 
Ladduwahetty. "The fact that we have it right here and are lucky enough to live in the neighborhood is just excellent!"
Mary Beth Tinker and Kesh Ladduwahetty building a trellis for the blackberries.

Over the past two years, the gardens served as an experiential learning destination for nearby D.C. schools, offering students the chance to step out of the classroom, bringing environmental science to life. 
Last spring, ninth grade students from nearby Edmund Burke School made weekly visits to the gardens as part of learning about climate change for their earth science class. They helped to weed, plant and apply compost. Their work at UDC was even highlighted in a short AP TV segment.

Mary Beth Tinker has been gardening since she was a child growing up in Iowa. "We get really excited thinking about the opportunities for green employment in this city!"

Expanding the District's economic development in the green job sector is a priority in the Sustainable DC Plan.

Another unique aspect of the sensory gardens are the tags which not only identify the plant and genus, but also the senses stimulated by the plant. More information on individual plants is available by scanning the QR code. Learn more about Plants Map tags

Special thanks to Dr. Lorraine Clark for spearheading the service event.

"Something as simple as gardening is not only educational, but helps us stay involved with the community, and vice versa," Dr. Clarke explained. 

The gardens are located on the UDC Van Ness Campus behind Building 41. 
Stop by and visit if you ever find yourself in the Van Ness neighborhood and stay tuned for more community gardening activities! Additional photos are available on our Facebook page.

Dr. Lorraine Clark organized the June 19 event.

Even CAUSES Dean O'Hara isn't afraid to get her hands dirty.

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