Today is Tuesday, June 27, 2017

4th graders garden benefits senior citizens

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When the children brought their bean sprouts to the garden, Littrell and several other Wilson County Master Gardeners assisted the children in transplanting the crops in order to complete the Three Sisters.

Before the fourth graders started planting, Cat Webster of the Oneida Tribe in Wisconsin retold the story of the Three Sisters. She also brought corn dolls and squash rattles to show what the tribes would make with leftover food.

The corn dolls are made with the corn stalk, she said, later adding, The rattles are made with squash.{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=51|imageid=304|displayname=0|float=right}

Afterwards, she sang a traditional Native American song to the children. The song is sung to bring people from all over the tribe to sing and dance together. The tribe sings songs to keep the seasons going and to speak to the creator and crops.

The song is saying, come cousins, sing with us, Webster explained.

The Community Center started the garden in spring 2011. Vegetables from the garden are donated to the Senior Citizens Awareness Network (SCAN). The program was developed by the Wilson County Sherriffs Department, which addresses the needs of senior citizens all across Wilson County. About 99 percent of the vegetables are given to SCAN, and some are used at the center.

Before they began planting, Debbie Par, director SCAN, thanked the students for their contributions to the organization.

{phocagallery view=category|categoryid=51|imageid=305|displayname=0|float=left}When people are generous and kind like you, it makes all the difference. It does change lives. Dont ever think something this small doesnt, she said.

As a thank you, the Sherriffs Department gave all the kids a gift bag with a water bottle, ruler, two pencils and a Frisbee.

Then the kids were given a spoon to dig with and directions on how to plant their beans in the ground.

Dont leave gaps in the soil. And you dont want to put dirt any higher on the plant than it already is, explained Master Gardener Roy Atkinson.

During Littells earlier visit to Elzie Patton, she gave the students paint sticks to decorate with their names so they know which bean sprout is theirs.

Most kids live around the park and can come watch their vegetables grow, Littrell said.

This is the first year this project has been done with a school.

Well see how it goes and maybe expand, said MJCC Resource DevelopmentCoordinator CJ Kiekens.

Staff Writer Nichole Manna may be contacted at

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