Community Garden
 


Major Labor from Good Kids

Over 150 Kauffman Scholars
clean, paint, create, dig, plant and more
for Historic Northeast

by Tracy Abeln
The Northeast News



Click Thumbnails to see larger images.

"Wolfgang Bucher (at ground level) explained how to prepare the soil and break up the roots of potted plants for one of the St. John Gardens rain gardens to Kauffman Scholars, their parents and other volunteers. Bucher is the executive director of Mosaic Brain, a Northeast-based youth arts education organization."
"St. John Community Gardens has available bed space for rent; a few new beds were built Saturday by Kauffman Scholars who also moved lots of earth for the two rain gardens and an outer semi-rain garden."
"About 150 Kauffman Scholars from Northeast, Van Horn, Lincoln, Alta Vista and other high schools came to St. John Avenue to plant rain gardens, paint a mural, and clean litter along St. John and in Budd Park on Saturday for National Youth Service Day."
 
"Darwin Arevalo (right) designed the mural painted Saturday at St. John Community Gardens, on the western wall of Back Door Pottery.  Central High School student Aaron Thomas recently met members of Mosaic Brain, co-organizers of the big work day April 21, and came to help paint and plant."

Red shirts were everywhere on St. John Avenue on Saturday, April 21, 2007.

Kids Work at St. John Community Gardens

Wolfgang Bucher (at ground level) explained how to prepare the soil and break up the roots of potted plants for one of the St. John Gardens rain gardens to Kauffman Scholars, their parents and other volunteers. Bucher is the executive director of Mosaic Brain, a Northeast-based youth arts education organization.

Kids Work at St. John Community Gardens

St. John Community Gardens has available bed space for rent; a few new beds were built Saturday by Kauffman Scholars who also moved lots of earth for the two rain gardens and an outer semi-rain garden.

Kids Work at St. John Community Gardens

About 150 Kauffman Scholars from Northeast, Van Horn, Lincoln, Alta Vista and other high schools came to St. John Avenue to plant rain gardens, paint a mural, and clean litter along St. John and in Budd Park on Saturday for National Youth Service Day.

Mural being painted on wall of Back Door Pottery

Darwin Arevalo (right) designed the mural painted Saturday at St. John Community Gardens, on the western wall of Back Door Pottery. Central High School student Aaron Thomas recently met members of Mosaic Brain, co-organizers of the big work day April 21, and came to help paint and plant.

Neighborhood clean-ups, from Pendleton Heights to Scarritt, were joined by Kauffman Scholars, over 150 sophomores from Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas high schools, who combed Budd Park and St. John Avenue for litter then converged at St. John Community Gardens, 3922 St. John Ave, where they moved earth for new rain gardens, built new plots and painted a mural that should bring more attention to the site. The first class of the Kauffman Scholars program were among the thousands of young people who made their communities better on National Youth Service Day.

A large group of organizers helped make the day possible, including Wolfgang Bucher, executive director of Mosaic Brain, and Rebecca Koop, executive director of the Northeast Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Koop’s business, Back Door Pottery, is next to the community garden and hosts the mural as well as the nine connected rain barrels that are also recent additions to “make the garden grow.”

Koop and others from the neighborhood, like Marianne Rouse, started discussion about building a community garden in the vacant lot about a year ago. Koop purchased the land after a long-vacant and damaged industrial building was finally demolished in 2003.

With help from Northeast businesses and other organizations outside of the area – like Missouri Organic Recycling which provided loads of soil mixed 60/40 with compost and sand, perfect for rain gardens – the garden is shaping up.

Last week, Lexington Plumbing hooked together the nine 55-gallon rain barrels and installed tap pipes and other equipment to divert water from the Back Door Pottery roof where it can be collected and used for the plants.

Rain is free and, according to the city’s Wet Weather Solutions Program that is trying to match Kansas City’s water system to federal regulations, overflows the sewers on a regular basis.

Average rainfall of one inch within a 24-hour period, for example, can produce more than 700 gallons of water that runs off a typical house’s roof.

Another solution to wasting water and sending it either to expensive treatment plants via the sewer system or to rivers and streams when the system is overloaded, often mixed with sanitary waste water, is to build a rain garden.

St. John Community Gardens now has two baby rain gardens in the middle of the lot where water tends to collect, running off the hillside and alley behind Windsor Avenue, as well as a larger collector garden near the street, which will prevent soil from washing away like it used to when the vacant lot was bare.

The Kauffman Scholars, under direction of Bucher, who works with youth at Whittier and Longan Elementary schools, as well as Garrison Community Center and elsewhere, amended soil and planted water-loving plants like blue and yellow flag irises in the two rain gardens on Saturday.

Others also worked at Garrison Community Center in Columbus Park with other Mosaic Brain volunteer teachers to clean up and paint the center’s basement and painted the exterior metal cage window screens and made mosaic-tiled benches for the center and for the gardens.

Ongoing service to the community is central to the Kauffman Scholars Program participants’ and their parents’ involvement.

“It’s a built-in component,” said Dr. Stephen Green, president and CEO of Kauffman Scholars, Inc., “and in the spirit of Ewing Marion Kauffman’s beliefs of giving back to the community. You don’t have to wait to start that.”

Green said he hoped the service day would be a memorable one for the rising 11th-graders from schools such as Northeast, Van Horn, Lincoln and Sumner and the values learned would become part of their lifestyle.

Click HERE to download the Garden Membership Application

Images from April '07
click thumbnails to see larger images
   
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
These sophomores from Sumner High School scoured St. John Avenue for litter as part of their service on Saturday (clockwise, from top left): Dekiyra Love, Laqueeta Manning, Ga’Quawna Manning, Vonnchet Traylor, Jessica Charles and Stephanie Pounds.    
 
 
 

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Most Assorted Stoneware and Majolica Photos by Janet Ryan.