theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

June 27, 2013

Community gardens serve as outdoor classroom


www.theadanews.com

Ada —

Ten-year-old Sean Higdon is well-versed in plants and compost and can even name a few beneficial insects, thanks to Chickasaw Nation Environmental Camp.

Strolling among the raised beds of onions, peppers, beans and other crops on a sunny Friday morning at the Chickasaw Nation Community Gardens, Sean and 27 other students paused to pick ripe strawberries and examine a caterpillar.

“This caterpillar is not a bad one because he is fuzzy,” Sean explained.

Sean, of Ada, credits time spent at the unique camp for introducing him to such concepts as mulch, water conservation, gardening and natural pest control.

Designed to enlighten 8 to 12-year-olds about the world around them, Environmental Camp offers behind-the-scene tours of facilities, including a municipal water treatment plant, waste water treatment plant, and community gardens where the group learned about hydroponics, compost and how the facility uses ladybugs for pest control.

A lesson about compost and how it benefits the soil made an impact on the young lives.

“This right here feels like my own garden,” said the spunky fourth grader, as he surveyed the community gardens, located southeast of Ada.

The Community Gardens is Sean’s garden — as well as a garden for all Chickasaw citizens.

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