Stillwater News Press

May 10, 2014

Grow! 05-11-14

Children’s programs on tap at Botanic Garden

Kimberly Toscano
Stillwater NewsPress

— The Botanic Garden at OSU is blessed to have an energetic group of volunteers, our garden Ambassadors. The garden simply wouldn’t be the premier garden it is without them.

While TBG has for many years offered programming for adults, there wasn’t much geared specifically toward children. Well, that all changed last year when a small band of these volunteers took it upon themselves to initiate an educational program for youth. From their efforts, the Children’s Adventure Program was born.They united their passion for gardening and the natural world with the child’s inquisitive mind to explore and learn.

The children’s programs take place during TBG’s open houses the first and third Saturdays of each month. Open houses are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the children’s programs will take place from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Activities are recommended for children ages 6-12 and parents are encouraged to stay and enjoy the garden while their child is attending the program.

We have a lot of different themes for the Children’s Adventure Program, which will run through Sept. 6. The series kicks off May 17 with the program, “A Garden for the Fairies and Gnomes.” Children will build a residence for the fairies and gnomes living at TBG. In addition, using their imagination and materials supplied, they’ll build their own fairy garden to take home.

My Vegetable Garden is slated June 7. The children will get their hands dirty as they prepare soil, plant, mulch and water. They’ll go home with seeds to plant their personal vegetable garden.

Leaf painting is the topic for June 21. The youth will take a stroll through the garden and select leaves and learn their plant names. Then they will paint the leaves and use them as a stamp to create a collage to take home for framing.

Kids are sure to love the activities planned July 5. Exploring the Soil is the name of the program and they will learn how plants, shrubs, trees, bugs, worms and other creatures love good, rich soil. They’ll learn about the different textures, colors and soil properties, as well as make their own mud pie.

July 19 will help the children discover The Wonders of the Garden. They’ll explore the garden looking for a wide array of colors, fruits, bugs and birds before painting their own birdhouse to display at home or in their backyard.

The Children’s Adventure Program will take a break in August and resume with the last session Sept. 6. The children will have to put on their creative thinking caps for this project. We all know the garden is home to lots of pretty plants, flowers and shrubs, but what else lives there? Lots of critters, that’s what. Using pine cones, pipe cleaners, grasses and leaves, each child will create a garden critter or two that expresses their nature fantasy.

We’re very excited about our summer program for children. TBG at OSU is such a beautiful place and we look forward to introducing it to the younger generation in an effort to cultivate a true appreciation for the outdoors.

There is a $5 fee per child per session, or $25 for all six sessions. Please contact Laura Payne at 405-744-4531, or email at laura.payne@ok-state.edu, to reserve your space and help ensure we have enough materials to go around.

Kimberly Toscano is assistant extension specialist and host of the OETA television program Oklahoma Gardening, which airs at 11 a.m. Saturdays and 3:30 p.m. Sundays, and assistant director of The Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University.