What an incredible summer we have had here at Meadowscaping! Our Youth Environmental Entrepreneurship Program (YEEP) has come to a close, and we are so sad to see our students go. We were lucky enough to lead three programs including a Cambridge program with 12 participants, a Newton program with 4 participants, and a Belmont program that was based in Waltham and featured 10 participants from Belmont and one from the downtown Boston area. We also welcomed three college mentors this summer who helped out with anything from curriculum development to designing a client’s backyard and mulching the gardens. Below is a short list of some of our favorite memories from the summer, however, it really is difficult to compile highlights because we were able to experience so many unique things, visit some incredible sites, and talk to countless inspiring people!
We were able to get a lot done this summer! Of course, one of the highlights for us was teaching the curriculum and sharing some fun educational games with the students. It was great to see how excited the Cambridge students would get when we mentioned playing “Go Fern.” We also were able to expose our students to breathtaking community outdoor areas such as the Habitat Education Center and Mount Auburn Cemetery. Unfortunately, our Newton students weren’t able to explore their community as much because the project at their site in Kennard Park was completely infested with bittersweet, thus they spent a large part of their summer rehabilitating that area and completely transforming it into a beautiful native plant garden.
The Cambridge and Belmont students also helped fight against invasives by removing Japanese knotweed, black swallow-wort, and bittersweet from various locations. Both programs also volunteered to complete projects at community areas such as McDevitt Middle School in Waltham and the First Baptist Church in Central Square. However, one of the most rewarding parts of the summer for the students and us was the native plant sales that we hosted in Waltham and Cambridge. We had two of the most successful plant sales that this program has ever seen! We can’t thank our supporters enough for coming out to meet the students and buy native plants. These sales provided our students with the opportunity to share their newly acquired knowledge with residents of the community and implement the business component of this program. For a more detailed description of our summer be sure to read our posts from all three of the sites!
This summer was a great experience, and we couldn’t be more grateful for our time with the students. In saying this, we do acknowledge that there are always things that can be improved. For next year, we’re hoping to fine-tune the planning process and ensure that we secure a landscaping project with a client and hold a plant sale for each program! We also think it’d be great to increase our staff in the spring to help plan for the summer! [Maybe get a local college student to intern for a few hours during the spring semester] We’re pleased with the direction that YEEP is headed, and we can’t wait to take you on this journey with us! Stay tuned by following us on our new, student created instagram @yeep_ma. We’ll see you next year.