Garden oasis flourishes in Old Market | Articles

“It’s a community space, bringing together nonprofits that normally wouldn’t have a reason to,” said Andrew Bauer, director of finance and operation at the Nature Conservancy office nearby.

On Wednesday at 12:30 p.m., the Nature Conservancy is hosting a discussion about the collaboration at the garden. The panel will feature staff from the Nature Conservancy, No More Empty Pots, Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim and the Bemis Center. Information can be found on the garden’s Facebook page.

The garden itself is a mix, too, of native perennials and several varieties of produce.

“It’s designed to look like rolling sand hills and paths, so we could do classes and gatherings,” said horticulturist Nancy Scott. “One whole section is native plants, with a lot of native Nebraska wildflower grasses. It’s just lovely now.”

At the heart of the vegetable garden is corn grown from seeds donated by Sacred Seed’s Keen, a member of the Omaha Tribe.

The corn is planted in a traditional manner, with sunflowers to protect the plants from the wind and beans providing potassium. Squash plants below shade the ground, keeping it moist and preventing weeds.

“Taylor is the keeper of some of the seeds; some of the strains are sacred to the Omaha Tribe,” Scott said.

Many more heirloom seeds have been used to plant all types of vegetables and even watermelon. There are all kinds of herbs and edible plants and three kinds of naturally colored cottons.

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Community garden flourishes in New Brighton, thanks to Boy Scout Troop 76 and H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Volunteers gathered on a crisp, sunny Saturday morning at the Skyline Community Garden in New Brighton, still in full bloom, to celebrate their gardening efforts over the last three years and the vegetables that are thriving and feeding the community.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 76, in conjuction with the non profit H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths, have refurbished a former bocce court located on the corner of Clyde Place and Prospect Avenue, planting and nurturing a community garden.

“Over the years we have been working with various groups,” said Watson Kawecki, Troop 76 Scout Master, based in Christ Church on Franklin Ave, also in New Brighton. “It’s not strictly our garden; it’s a community garden.

“Troop 76 is a five-year-old troop trying to keep the flame of scouting alive. Some of that is service. Some is giving to the community. And some of that is building up the skills you need in society.”

The youngest of Troop 76, Stefan Offenberg, 11, seemed pleased with the reults. “I helped remove weeds from the garden and other stuff that didn’t belong in the space,” he said. “I was happy to help because you can never have enough help with projects like this one.”

The vegetables of the garden, including zucchini, broccoli, summer squash, cucumbers, bunnernut squash, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes, are free to neighborhood families, thanks to the efforts of the non-profit, H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths.

“Troop 76 and six dedicated volunteers have tended to this beautiful garden from March to October for many seasons, providing the neighborhood with fresh vegetables in what was once an abondoned bocce court,” said Jim Logan of the NYC Parks Dept. “The space is now a beautiful setting for the area’s residents to visit and picnic on the surrounding benches.”

Volunteer Charlotte Hewitt agrees, noting that Troop 76 works hand in hand with H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths, a non profit headed by Heather Butts. “Our garden is open to the public and I’m proud to say we have eradicated the weeds,” said Hewitt.

“She brought the plants, planted them, and I plotted out four-foot beds. The scouts volunteered with their parents and did the watering and weeding. We have been going strong ever since.”


H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths, Inc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit formed for the charitable and educational purposes of assisting youth. The organization strives to combat community deterioration and juvenile delinquency, improve the quality of education, health care and life-skills training offered to adolescence and young adults.

“Skyline Community Garden wouldn’t be where it is this year without the help of Troop 76 this year,” said Heather Butts, founder and H.E.A.L.T.H for Youths. “We started it three years ago with help from Partnerships for Parks, Parks Department and Greenthumb.”

H.E.A.L.T.H. for Youths is also the steward for several different gardens on North Shore, including Hillstreet Garden and Snug Harbor Garden, according to Hewitt.

(Dr. Gracelyn Santos/Staten Island Advance)

Charlotte Hewitt explains the procedures involved in the refurbishment of the New Brighton community garden. (Dr. Gracelyn

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