WEforum and Mastro Montessori Collaboration Brings The Curious Gardener Summer Camp to Two River Community
By WEforum Editors
WEforum, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting healthy living and sustainability, has partnered with Mastro Montessori Academy to create The Curious Gardener Summer Camp. The program, now in its fifth year, encourages elementary school students to explore their love of nature and gardening through a variety of activities and projects that integrate math, reading, science, writing, and art.
The four-week summer camp, which runs from 8:30 am to 12 pm during July, is open to first- through sixth-grade students in the Two River community. The cost is $275 per week. The camp provides hands-on activities that teach across multiple subject areas, including environmental sustainability, nutrition, health, wellness, community service, gardening, and practical business skills.
In 2017 the school established a 17-raised-bed organic garden as an extension of the classroom in memory of Mastro Montessori’s father, Neil DeSena.
“We are thrilled to offer The Curious Gardener Summer Camp to the Two River community for the fifth consecutive year,” said Carolyn DeSena, founder of WEforum. “Our goal is to help children develop a love for gardening and the environment while also providing them with a fun and engaging way to learn across multiple subjects.”
The summer camp features a range of activities, including lessons on bees and their beehives, composting and vermiculture, and aeroponics using the Tower Garden.
Ron Finley, the Gangsta Gardener of South-Central LA and former keynote speaker for WEforum’s Eat for Life Conference began to grow food in his own community garden due to the lack of available fresh produce in his neighborhood. “When you teach a child to grow a carrot, they will eat a carrot,” Ron says. The Curious Gardener program adopted this message and will spread it to neighboring communities through the children.
The camp also provides scholarships for approximately 12-15 children from the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County, thanks to the generous support of Monmouth Medical Center.
“We have seen firsthand the impact that The Curious Gardener Summer Camp has had on the children who attend,” said Douglas Eagles, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club. “The hands-on nature of the camp, from planting seeds in the garden to looking after a beehive, has brought concepts to life for our young people, and that is priceless.”
Clara Borders, Academy Director at Mastro Montessori Academy, shared her thoughts on teaching children about gardening, healthy eating, and sustainability.
“Our goal is to expose as many children as we can to the importance of having a home or school garden and growing your own food,” said Borders. “By getting children to think about the larger impact of their food choices, we hope to encourage them to be global citizens.”
To register for The Curious Gardener Summer Camp, please contact Clara Borders at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (732) 219-5400. Space is limited, and the program runs Monday through Friday.