Friday, May 23, 2014

Healthy Children, Healthy Planet--2014

The Riverside Elementary PTO brought the country to the people last weekend, for their annual environmental fair and fundraiser. There was Dorothy Mullen--who with the help of many volunteers over the years has nurtured the Riverside gardens to their glorious state--announcing the winners of the raffle.
And a small herd of sheep whose wool was being spun into yarn just outside the pen. The sheep must have been wondering why humans don't just grow their own fur.

There were some fine exhibits by the Friends of Princeton Open Space and the Princeton Schools Garden Initiative, some crafts, a plant sale, a yoga clinic...

My table, despite being stocked with info-packed books and pamphlets with compelling names like Rain Garden Manual of New Jersey, the Princeton Environmental Resource Inventory, and Princeton's Guide to Leaf Management, lacked a certain charisma until Dorothy's chickens arrived.

Kids related to the chickens in different ways. This boy lingered and gazed at them with a deep curiosity,

while others took particular pleasure in holding one. This chicken, named Buttons, being held most happily by a girl named Muktaa, is one my daughter brought to the fair from our countrified backyard on Harrison Street. (Thanks to Karla Cook for this photo.)

The event, riding the tide of a perfect day, raised $6000 towards sustaining the garden education programs that have become an important part of school curriculum.

In the words of lead organizers Beth Behrend and Julie Capozzoli, the event helps "provide all of our children with lifelong lessons in nutrition, healthy living, sustainability, hands-on learning and much more"

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