Welcome ...

Welcome to the Clifton Place Block Association Community Garden. Since 1991, the garden has been a green oasis for many in this corner of the Clinton Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn. As is the case with so many New York City community gardens, the Clifton Place Block Association Community Garden developed from the community's need to reclaim and transform a garbage-strewn city-owned lot into a place of beauty and an asset to all in Clinton Hill and surrounding areas.

In its years of existence, Clifton Place Garden (short) has served as a place where neighborly bonds are strengthened, the passion for gardening and nature is shared, friendships develop, and neighborhood children learn. Through its open door policy, Clifton Place Garden has endeared itself to the community. It is not uncommon to hear someone passing by compliment its beauty and express pride and appreciation for what the garden does to the surrounding area.

Going forward, Clifton Place Garden will seek to continue strengthen its ties to the surrounding neighborhoods through composting programs, children's workshops, and unique arts events. And we hope to connect, via this Web Log, to other gardening enthusiasts, and to share the excitement of our urban gardening experience here. Hopefully, this site will be a favorite place you will keep returning to, and if in the neighborhood, you will stop by to enjoy the pleasure of our small, flourishing retreat.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kids In The Garden ....

The Garden as a Learning Environment….

Urban gardens like The Clifton Place Garden can be indispensable learning environments for children. Growing up in a place like Brooklyn, where buildings come close to outnumbering trees, and green spaces are few and far in between, community gardens go a long way in exposing children to nature. Without the garden many would not experience seeing tomatoes on a vine or the pleasure of picking and eating vine ripen strawberries. At The Clifton Place Garden we try to engage children in as many aspects, as possible, of our projects. And given the natural curiosity of children, it is never hard to get them to take interests in activities. Plus they have fun!

But beyond having children plant plants or water plots, the time spent with children in the garden can become a time of additional learning. Inevitably when working with children they will ask many questions. They often pepper you with the ubiquitous “What is that?”. A great thing to do is combine your answer with a bit of learning reinforcement. For example, during preparation for a fund raising event, the local kids came and wanted to help. As we bundled cut lavender and potted lilies, we engaged the children in counting exercises. When answering the “What is that?” question, we had them spell words using the phonics method.

So, The Clifton Place Garden give local kids a green place to play, be exposed to and learn about nature, and learn through nature. From the gardens beginning, children have been a key part of its fabric. We see the short-term impact exposure to the garden have on the kids who can’t wait to see the gates re-open. In the long term, hopefully their time in the garden makes lasting impressions that help them grow into productive citizens. This is another way urban gardens like The Clifton Place Garden makes a difference in the lives of its community.

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