Despite a bit of a rocky pre-program period and having to delay our start by one week, our Belmont program, including 10 Belmont students and 1 Boston student, was a soaring success this year! While initially we hoped to be based in Rock Meadow in Belmont, thanks to the generosity of the folks at the UU Church, we ended up basing our program in the First Parish Church in Waltham. This ended up being a blessing in disguise for us! The location allowed us to rehabilitate a native plant garden that we installed in front of the church last year (pic left). We were also able to go right across the street to McDevitt Middle School and do some weeding and installing of native plants in two abandoned planter boxes in front of the building.
Additionally, in between our curriculum on native plants; pollinators; marketing, finance and operations of running a business; eco-heroes; and climate change we were able to get out and explore the community. Early on in the summer we toured Mt. Auburn Cemetery with Jerry Mendenhall and saw the thriving native plant meadows on the property. On the right there is a picture of a few of our students at the top of the tour on the grounds with the Boston skyline behind them!
We also had a tour of the Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary with the director of the center, Roger Wrubel (pictured below) and helped remove the nasty invasive, Japanese knotweed while we were on the property.
Our fight against invasives continued a few weeks later when we stopped at the Charles River Greenway in Waltham to remove more Japanese knotweed (it really is everywhere!) and bittersweet with Sonja Wadman from the Waltham Land Trust.
However, one of the biggest tasks we undertook with our Belmont students this summer was a project with a client. This job allowed our students to experience what it takes to work with a client in a landscaping job from start to finish- we had to create a design plan, have it approved, order plants, prep the site, deliver and manage the inventory, and finally install the plants all while maintaining communication with the client. In the end, all of our hard work paid off and we were able to transform the client’s backyard into a pollinator paradise with dozens of native plants!
In the last week of the program we worked hard to put together a native plant sale at the First Parish Church in Waltham. And thanks to all of our marketing and outreach, it ended up being the most successful plant sale that the Youth Environmental Entrepreneurship Program has ever had! We sold around 85 native plants! This experience allowed our students to share their knowledge with the community and spread the word about the importance of pollinator friendly plants. Below you can see a photo of our sale in full swing!
As always, we want to give a huge shoutout to everyone who contributed to making this summer such a great experience for both the students and the staff here at Meadowscaping for Biodiversity.