DescriptionWhen the Oak Hill city commission accepted the challenge from our Volusia County Council to create a "Green Space", they donated 2.7 acres for this project. While community volunteers were interested, the challenge seemed overwhelming. Concurrently, the Daytona Museum of Arts & Sciences contacted the local charter school about participating in the Green Ambassador program. The Environmental Science teacher met with an enthusiastic community volunteer regarding plans for a Community Garden, and this match was magical. An afterschool club was formed, and students created garden designs, took soil samples, researched gardens in other locations, and provided inspiration to the community garden committee. Since the garden location is only 1/2 mile from the school, students walked there to begin their work.
Green Ambassador t-shirts were purchased by a local organization and as this group (20-35) walked to the garden location to begin their volunteer work, the community noticed. Citizens watched the progress. Many adults were inspired to work on the project. The City provided a fence, water (well/pump) and power for the property. Volunteers increased and businesses became financially supportive. Student leadership and involvement encouraged and inspired local adults to work together to provide this unique green space. Students led discussions and presentations were shared with adult volunteers. They created signs that identified areas on the property where the following would be located: children's garden, butterfly garden, vegetable raised beds (20-30), historical garden, fruit trees, botanical garden, memorial garden, compost area and Garden Art.
The adult volunteers formed a committee working with the students to plan a “soft opening” that introduced the community to the garden plans. Within a month, plans were made to host the SE Volusia Chamber of Commerce, who presented a groundbreaking/ribbon-cutting ceremony. More than 70 people attended this event, encouraging both students and the adults to expand their work on this project. A full irrigation system has recently been installed, trees have been planted, and the first 20 raised vegetable beds are ready for planting. Phase II includes October fundraising event on the garden site and building a covered pole barn with a stage and benches for educational workshops and events. Community residents are donating cuttings, plants, and volunteer labor to move this project forward. Students hosted a display table at School Orientation and promoted joining the afterschool Green Ambassadors Club. The students are spreading the word and welcoming everyone to be connected to the Oak Hill Community Garden.
-Story by Dana G.