The garden is a great place to learn. Of course you learn horticultural practices and plant names, but there are life lessons to be found amongst the oaks and salvia!
For example, The Marin Master Gardeners’ “Exploring Habitats” program works with schools to teach insect and animal habitats and more. Taking inspiration from them, we have reached out in an effort to connect us to the community around us and beyond. Opportunities for engagement are everywhere and we’re finding them.
If you visit the gardens, there is a good chance you will meet our interns from Archie Williams and Redwood High Schools. We are fortunate to have them on our campus to learn, contribute and inspire. The intern program is emerging and we would like to grow it to further our connection to the school community. Internships help students fulfill their required service hours, but it is beneficial to them and us. They learn what it takes to maintain a public garden and see how the day-to-day operation works, and they help us complete tasks that range from design to irrigation to pruning. Learning works both ways, and I have learned from them as well. Thanks to our Board’s support, we have been successful.
You may have seen the girl scouts around the gardens on other occasions. Scout troops from Novato and Petaluma have come to our awesome little corner of Marin County to earn gardening badges. It’s not as easy as it may sound because the girls actually have tasks to complete and then finish by growing a plant from seed. Many did not know about Marin Art and Garden until their visit so it was great that they chose us to work on their badges. As I was a scout myself I am deeply honored to pay it back by supporting scouting.
As we continue to develop community relationships I hope to always have learned something and imparted a lesson, whether as small as a salvia or as big as a valley oak.