Earth Day Gardening Project: Successful Spring Kickoff

Judy Martin, (right) the assistant in the RSIC Language & Culture Program helps Jeremy Souza smooth the soil for a new plant in the healing garden.

In honor of Earth Day, several departments at the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony joined forces to prepare the healing garden located at the RSIC Language and Culture yard.

The public works department got the program started by preparing the soil, repairing the water drip system, and building trellises for the plants.

“Public works did a great job getting our garden ready to plant,” said Bhie-Cie Ledesma, the RSIC’s Environmental Specialist.

On Earth Day, April 22, RSIC staffers from language and culture, environmental, plus the Reno child care program, planted culturally significant items like snap peas, tomatoes, strawberries, mint, corn, and sunflowers.

Moreover, several youth from the child care program dug in the earth, planted seeds and vegetation, and turned the soil with adult supervision.

“The wind was so strong and our little ones were having a hard time seeing,” Ledesma said. “Even so, everyone had fun and now we are looking forward to the growing process.”

Ledesma added, thanks to public works, the garden has an automatic watering system.  She said that the students from Child Care will be visiting the healing garden on a regular
basis and will even be helping weed the area.

Eventually, these young, dedicated gardeners will enjoy the fruits, and the vegetables
of their labor.

“The kids will get to eat what they grow,” Ledesma said.

An annual celebration, Earth Day began in 1970 and has grown into a global event
recognized by over 192 countries.

According to Ledesma, devoting a special day for the earth is a way to demonstrate how much we care about the future of our planet.

“No matter what you like to do best, there is a way to get involved in Earth Day,” she said. “You can plant a tree, make a meal with locally-grown vegetables, educate a family member, clean up trash in your neighborhood, set up a bird feeder or save power — the possibilities are   endless.”

One of the most popular options which people of all ages enjoy is gardening. Children
specifically, will have a lot of fun and there are special benefits.

Gardening is educational and develops new skills including:
▪  Responsibility – from
caring for plants and the earth
▪  Understanding – as they learn about cause and effect (for example, plants die without water, weeds compete with plants)
▪  Self-confidence – from achieving their goals and enjoying the food they have grown
▪  Love of nature – a chance to learn about the outdoor
environment in a safe and pleasant place
▪  Reasoning and discovery – learning about the science
of plants, animals, weather, the environment, nutrition and
simple construction
▪  Physical activity – doing fun and productive activities
▪  Cooperation – including shared play activity and teamwork
▪  Creativity – finding new and exciting ways to grow food
▪  Nutrition – learning appreciation about where fresh, local food comes from

Furthermore, according to National Geographic author Dan Buettner, he found
anecdotal evidence, about how gardeners live up to 14 years longer than non-gardeners.

IMG_3415 earth Day
With adult help, little ones from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony’s Child Care Program battled harsh conditions, but planted a beautiful healing garden outside the library. Photo by Bucky Harjo