On Friday, March 1, the members of the Delaware Grounds Management Association lent their time and expertise to improve an outdoor garden classroom for preschoolers in Wilmington's Hilltop neighborhood. DGMA members will be doing preparatory work for a new fence and garden design installation.
Nearly 20 years ago, in cooperation with the Delaware Center for Horticulture, child advocate Sandy Poppiti spearheaded an effort to transform the abandoned lot at 231 N. Jackson St., infested with trash and illegal activities, into a safe zone for creative play, self-discovery and inspiration for young children to engage with the natural world.
Since then, through the Secret Garden program, volunteers from the Delaware Center for Horticulture have been delivering hands-on environmental education to preschoolers at the Ministry of Caring Daycare Center, located steps from the outdoor classroom. In 2012, the volunteers won the Governor's Outstanding Service Award. The program meets state education standards, and is registered with Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" Garden Campaign.
Last spring, DCH began raising funds for repairs and upgrades in the well-loved and well-worn garden space. Landscape designer Alison Long's design will be installed in 2013 through the generous support of private donors. The DGMA efforts are the first step in this transformation.