“Science … should still be fun,” says URGC’s Lauren Gonce.
“Science … should still be fun,” says URGC’s Lauren Gonce.

Urban Roots Garden Classroom

Science is a subject that often evokes excited responses from young children—until they reach their teen years, when it starts to become a subject for those who can and those who can’t.

“Something seems to happen when kids transition into older ages,” says Lauren Gonce, development coordinator for the Urban Roots Garden Classrooms. “Science becomes more challenging, but it should also still be fun.”

URGC hopes to keep science interesting and relevant for kids and teens with their summer camps in an effort to encourage STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—education outside of a school setting.

“There’s a lot out there for little kids, but we wanted to make sure there were opportunities for preteens to explore gardening and learning about plants and animals,” Gonce says.

The focus of this year’s camps is cooking with homegrown ingredients. Gonce says kids will study the process of gardening and farming, and will then learn how to cook using the ingredients they’ve studied.

“Cooking is a great way to be creative and scientific,” she says. “It’s part of our ‘seed-to-table’ mission.”

Art projects will also give kids a chance to experiment with nature—both using nature to create art, and using it as inspiration.

URGC is in the process of building its farm on west Fourth Street, near the River School Farm. Some classes will be jointly taught by instructors from both URGC and the River School Farm. URGC is also launching a program throughout the next few months to bring gardens into area schools.

Gonce hopes that kids will find a passion for the environment through gardening.

“Most kids—and adults, too—like to play in the dirt,” says Gonce.

Sprout School Day Camp –ages 3-5

Campers will engage all of their senses through nature explorations and play. Activities include animal meet-and-greets, garden art, mudpies, tea parties, garden harvests and lots of cooking. Urban Roots Farm. Camp dates include June 18-22, July 9-13, and July 23-27. Camps run9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Farm Kids Day Camp – ages 6-8

Campers will learn how a garden grows by recording plant growth, feeding the farm animals, playing games and making pizzas for a pizza party. Urban Roots Farm. July 30-Aug. 3. Camps run 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

Garden Club Day Camp – ages 9-12

Campers will become garden scientists for the week by conducting scientific studies of plant growth, animal behaviors, chemistry of soil and water, and creating new scientific tools. Urban Roots Farm campers will be immersed in creativity and science by learning about nature through art, movement, music, games and scientific study. Kids will use multiple intelligences to explore plants, animals, soil, seeds and food, and will also have the chance to work with chickens, goats, ducks and honey bees. River School Farm. July 16-20, Aug. 6-10. Camps run 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

To RSVP, visit www.urgc.org to fill out the registration form and a registration packet will be sent to you.

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