TRAVERSE CITY — "Bingo, baby — big beans!"
Dan Curtiss pulsed with excitement as he pulled baby carrots and beets, and plucked a fistful of green beans. The 9-year-old is a veteran gardener nurturing his plants for the second summer in the Grand Traverse Children's Garden.
He shares one of the Children's Garden plots with classmates at the Traverse City Summer Day Camp. Curtiss delights in his few square feet of dirt, which he visits weekly with fellow campers to water, weed and harvest.
"I just like planting it and taking care of it," he said. "And looking for all the veggies, that's the best part."
Janice Curtiss learns right along with her son. He brings home basil leaves and suggests adding them to a jar of spaghetti sauce. Fresh mint leaves liven up iced tea.
"He loves fresh vegetables," said the Acme resident, who is not a gardener.
On Thursday evening, Dan and his mother joined other participants and families to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Grand Traverse Children's Garden. They listened to "The Runaway Garden," read by author Jeffrey Schatzer of Bellaire, peered through telescopes brought by Grand Traverse Astronomical Society members and enjoyed music by the Munson Hospice Harpists.
"(The Children's Garden) is a wonderful program," said Barb McIntyre, whose Munson Hospice Art Therapy program has participated for ten years. "I'm so glad we get the opportunity to be here — to be outside in nature, which is so healing."
Situated behind the Traverse Area District Library, the Grand Traverse Children's Garden brings to life a Roots to Mouth program. The garden features 15 plots and an adaptive garden plus winding paths, a gazebo, a building and a new brick pizza oven built this year. Also new this year are two new kitchen gardens with herbs.
"We have them planting, growing and eating what they're growing, which is an important part of teaching," said director Susan Kuschell, who helped launch the garden.
The Grand Traverse Children's Garden started life as a "pile of rubble," Kuschell said. The space has since been transformed into a flourishing learning environment.
"It really was just nothing, a little piece of neglected land between two railroad tracks," said Dean Conners, a co-founder and board member of the Children's Garden.
Dedicated volunteers, enthusiastic participants and ongoing library, city and community support combined to build a summer institution for area youth.
Their inspiration came from the ground up.
"The minute we opened the first garden at the library, parents and teachers and kids came up and said, 'Where can our kids get information?" said Kuschell of the avid interest in youth gardening.
Volunteers and Children's Garden interns also contribute to the program's success. Meeting with participants weekly throughout the summer, they work to instill a lifelong love of gardening.
"Just to watch them stick their fingers in the dirt, they have a ball," said volunteer Linda Verellen. "And for them to see a seed grow into a big plant is terrific, they might not have that opportunity at home."
TRAVERSE CITY — "Bingo, baby — big beans!"
Tournament renamed in son's honor
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Group gives lights to keep bikers safe
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Ballerina gets Joffrey bid, scholarship
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Our Town in Brief: 12/27/2010
Seed saving workshop planned; PJ movie morning at Peninsula library; NY Eve party at Children's Museum. (Plus more)Continued ...
Phil's on Front plans feast
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Students provide a 'guten morgen'
Kerry LaBonte was bitten by the foreign-language bug at an early age. She is hoping that same bug takes a bite out of the fourth-graders her high school German students have been visiting.Continued ...
Service News: 12/20/2010
Army Spc. Nathan Marks returned home Thursday after serving a year as a combat medic in Afghanistan.Continued ...
- Our Town in Brief: 12/20/2010
- Monday, December 13, 2010
Group eager to save Knollwood
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Kids find science is super
Kaitlin Cesario had a hair-raising experience during Super Science Saturday.Continued ...
our Town in Brief: 12/13/2010
Evening garden club has Christmas party; Local humanist group plans meeting. (Plus more)Continued ...
- Monday, December 6, 2010
Youngsters learn to fly over snow with greatest of ease
On the slopes since they were 3, Cristina Porter's sons added snowboarding to the mix more recently.Continued ...
Students direct food pantry at TC High School
Launched about three years ago, the food pantry now occupies three walls of a room at the school.Continued ...
- Service News: 12/06/2010
Our Town in Brief: 12/06/2010
Christmas Cookie and book sale set; Grand Traverse Democrats to meet; Mattresses bought, mattresses donated; Big Give dinner, auction aid pantriesContinued ...
- Monday, November 29, 2010
CD documents Oakwood Cemetery
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Young runners qualify for Junior Olympics
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Men, boys gather to share their stories
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Our Town in Brief: 11/29/2010
Bellaire Lioness Club sells cookies; Sons of Norway plan holiday party; AngelWorks Yule tree fundraiser.Continued ...
Service News: 11/29/2010
Air Force Airman 1st Class Joshua Thaxton graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. Thaxton earned distinction as an honor graduate.Continued ...
- Monday, November 22, 2010
Hundreds run, walk in TC trot
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Museum recreates WWII Christmas scenes
A showcase of the 1940s holiday homefront, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is complete with wartime table linens, appliances, furniture and reminders of soldiers not home to celebrate.Continued ...
Our Town in Brief: 11/22/2010
Heart health event available to women; OM Women's Club hosts cookie sale; Lions Club offers fresh-cut Yule trees; Charlevoix holds tree-lighting festContinued ...
- Monday, November 15, 2010
Local tree travels to Texas
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Historical society records war stories
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- Tournament renamed in son's honor