yeep END-OF-SUMMER 2019
What an incredible summer we have had here at Meadowscaping! Our Youth Environmental Entrepreneurship Program (YEEP) has come to a close, and we are so sad to see our students go. We were lucky enough to lead three programs including a Cambridge program with 12 participants, a Newton program with 4 participants, and a Belmont program that was based in Waltham and featured 10 participants from Belmont and one from the downtown Boston area. We also welcomed three college mentors this summer who helped out with anything from curriculum development to designing a client’s backyard and mulching the gardens. Below is a short list of some of our favorite memories from the summer, however, it really is difficult to compile highlights because we were able to experience so many unique things, visit some incredible sites, and talk to countless inspiring people!
We were able to get a lot done this summer! Of course, one of the highlights for us was teaching the curriculum and sharing some fun educational games with the students. It was great to see how excited the Cambridge students would get when we mentioned playing “Go Fern.” We also were able to expose our students to breathtaking community outdoor areas such as the Habitat Education Center and Mount Auburn Cemetery. Unfortunately, our Newton students weren’t able to explore their community as much because the project at their site in Kennard Park was completely infested with bittersweet, thus they spent a large part of their summer rehabilitating that area and completely transforming it into a beautiful native plant garden.
The Cambridge and Belmont students also helped fight against invasives by removing Japanese knotweed, black swallow-wort, and bittersweet from various locations. Both programs also volunteered to complete projects at community areas such as McDevitt Middle School in Waltham and the First Baptist Church in Central Square. However, one of the most rewarding parts of the summer for the students and us was the native plant sales that we hosted in Waltham and Cambridge. We had two of the most successful plant sales that this program has ever seen! We can’t thank our supporters enough for coming out to meet the students and buy native plants. These sales provided our students with the opportunity to share their newly acquired knowledge with residents of the community and implement the business component of this program. For a more detailed description of our summer be sure to read our posts from all three of the sites!
This summer was a great experience, and we couldn’t be more grateful for our time with the students. In saying this, we do acknowledge that there are always things that can be improved. For next year, we’re hoping to fine-tune the planning process and ensure that we secure a landscaping project with a client and hold a plant sale for each program! We also think it’d be great to increase our staff in the spring to help plan for the summer! [Maybe get a local college student to intern for a few hours during the spring semester] We’re pleased with the direction that YEEP is headed, and we can’t wait to take you on this journey with us! Stay tuned by following us on our new, student created instagram @yeep_ma. We’ll see you next year.
Summer in Cambridge
We have officially ended our summer session here in Cambridge and what a summer it has been! We were lucky enough to have 12 wonderful students from the Cambridge area working with us for the six weeks of the program. During this time we were able to complete different jobs in our local community, learn about the importance of native plants, have a super successful plant sale (thank you everyone who came to support!) and play enough “Go Fern” (our native plant version of Go Fish) to last a lifetime! Below is a compilation of some of our favorite moments from the summer.
We started the summer off strong by rehabilitating three planter boxes that we started working on last year at Jerry’s Pond. On the right you can see the before and after photos of one planter that prove how much work our students put in to this project!
A few other jobs that we did this summer include; planting 50 ferns for the city; pulling out 5ft weeds from in front of the First Baptist Church in Central Square; and removing hundreds of Black Swallow-wort pods from the area around Fresh Pond!
Aside from these work projects, we also were lucky enough to go on some fun field trips! We started off the summer by visiting City Hall and talking with [Insert name of rep] about his work on climate readiness. We also visited Mt. Auburn Cemetery, the Museum of Fine Arts, and we got to release monarchs at both Fresh Pond and the Fenway Victory Gardens.
Additionally, in between our projects and curriculum on business management, climate change, eco-heroes, native plants, etc. we had some great guests come chat with us-- Steve Nutter came and talked about his role with Green Cambridge and Jane Hirschi talked about her organization CitySprouts.
The summer came to a close when we held our native plant sale on August 7th right by our flourishing demo garden at Reservoir Church. We were able to educate customers about the importance of native plants and direct them to plants that would be ideal for their yard. This sale ended up being the most successful sale YEEP has ever had (until the Belmont sale beat our record just 1 week later)! This sale allowed our students to share their knowledge and understand how many people care about pollinators and native plants in this community. [Insert pic of sale]
Although the sale was definitely a highlight, one of our favorite memories from the whole summer was when one of our students sang our “Pollinator in a Pickle” rap at the MSYEP Summer Showcase and the whole crowd loved it! Check out our student run instagram @yeep_ma for a video of the performance and other photos from the summer! As always, we want to thank everyone who contributed to making this summer so successful and rewarding for us and the students. We’ll see you next summer, YEEP!
[Insert pic of students]
INCREASING OPEN SPACE FOR POLLINATORS
I'm always thinking about how to increase habitat for wildlife. Since so much land is already developed, or is going to be developed soon, the only way to increase open space is to adapt already developed land for our purpose. Walter Kitteridge mentioned that adding a double row of bushes to hilly areas would reduce the amount of pollution running off.
Great idea! I'm thinking of the steep grassy hillside along the Mass. Pike in Newton. What a waste of good land that could support hundreds of native trees, native shrubs, beautiful flowers and attendent good soil and birds and other creatures. The land would need little maintenance but would support biodiversity. How scary it must be to mow that area--even with high-tech mowing equipment.
MS4B is trying step-by-step to introduce complexity into formulaic thinking that a green lawn, a few token shrubs, and a few flowers lining the driveway are requisite landscaping for the American way of life. Indeed, many decision-makers are working from assumptions that were never appropriate for the land. We seek to explain resilience and that with appropriate landscaping, pollinators would return. Every sq. ft. of highway or bank parking lot or school yard planted with native plants would be helpful in rebuilding community resilience.