Welcome to Outdoor Classrooms Garden of the Month. From backyards to schoolyards, we want to find the Outdoor Classrooms & Children’s Gardens that are cultivating wonder, curiosity and playful learning. This month of September, our Spotlight Garden Program is the MA Audubon Habitat Intergenerational Program called HIP. I would like to welcome and introduce Phyl Solomon, HIP Founder, and Intergenerational Specialist. She is here today highlighting HIP and it’s many intergenerational garden projects that have evolved over the years.
HIP: Habitat Intergenerational Program
at MA Audubon’s Education & Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont, MA
by Phyl Solomon, Founder & Intergenerational Program Specialist
HIP is a VOLUNTEER community service & learning program that began in 1997 at Habitat; a Massachusetts Audubon Education and Wildlife Sanctuary in Belmont, MA. HIP links people of all ages, dispels myths about how the young and old should act, promotes the joy of learning and working together and results in environmental stewardship. In 2003, HIP was awarded the Fran Pratt Award, given to honor intergenerational program that best exemplifies vision, leadership & service to the intergenerational movement.
A weekly after-school program that brings together students of varied ages and older adults to work outside helping to control the spread of invasive plants, providing trail work and being part of the Weeks Pond rejuvenation project.
Fall Trails Days
Bringing together 60-100 volunteers of all ages to work at Habitat, planting native wildflowers, chipping trails, cleaning up the Children’s Garden, the herb garden, butterfly garden and more.
Senior Center Project
Bringing together seniors & middle school students to create educational materials to be used by the teachers at Habitat. HIP volunteers have also created an herb curriculum for Habitat camps and certified a vernal pool.
Moon Sun Herb Garden
This garden was created in 2001 by a multigenerational womens group. This group planned and planted the garden, now called the Moon/Sun Herb garden. It is maintained by women and students from the middle school. In addition, this group has created an herb section to the Habitat Library and hosts an annual herb sale at Habitat.
Chenery Middle School Courtyard Garden Project
This project, begun in 2002 has transformed a barren 3 story courtyard into a native garden complete with a pond and waterfall. The goals of this project include enriching the academic experiences of the students, fostering positive intergenerational learning & promoting environmental stewardship. This has become a living classroom, maintained by The Courtyard Club, a weekly intergenerational service club. It has been awarded the National Wildlife Federation Certificate of Achievement.
Monthly Bird Walks
These walks encourage birders of all ages and skill levels to enjoy casual bird walks around the sanctuary. Each walk is led by an experienced birder.
HIP has also led free nature story hours to very young children and adults at the Fresh Pond Apartments in Cambridge built bluebird boxes, presented talks to middle school children and the community, hosted nature walks for seniors at Habitat.
Those involved in HIP come to know and believe that all ages working together can make a difference in helping our Earth to be a better place for future generations.
For more information, contact Phyl Solomon, HIP Founder: PHYL87@comcast.net
If you have an Outdoor Classroom that you would like to share, please contact Victoria Hackett.