|Smokey interacts with the children|
The dedication of the new Children's Garden took place on May 11 at the Lincoln County Ranger Station in Ruidoso. About 140 Lincoln County Head Start students from Nob Hill, Capitan, and Hondo Valley made the trip by bus to plant seedlings and seeds there.
The garden symbolizes the the vision of ending childhood hunger in New Mexico. All produce will be donated to the Lincoln County Food Bank.
The New Mexico Alliance for Children had the pleasure of planning and coordinating this joint venture among our non-profit, Lincoln County Head Start, and the US Forest Service. All of the participating children will be a part of ISFP this summer, receiving supplementary food from the New Mexico Collaboration to End Hunger.
Roger Allen, our head gardener, was kept busy helping young hands plant the seedlings they had started in their classrooms several weeks ago. The children planted squash, peas, bush and pole beans, pumpkins, tomatoes, and carrots.
Rafael "Rifle" Salas, Ruidoso City Councilman, presided over the ceremonies and also talked to the kids about the importance of including lots of fruits and vegetables in their diet and drinking plenty of water. Rifle showed the youth the newly planted onion and potato beds and assisted Roger Allen with soil preparation.
Smokey Bear made a special guest appearance at the ceremony to the delight of all the children, providing them with someone to hug.
The Head Start teachers painted and decorated their classroom row signs for the Children's Garden. Megan Rabourn and her middle school art classes designed and painted amazing signs for the Children's Garden area, as well as the Soup Garden, Butterfly Habitat, Three Sisters native seeds garden, and for the individual vegetables that will be growing in the different garden areas.
The garden will be tended over the summer by NMAC's youth garden apprentice group.
The author is executive director of the executive director of the New Mexico Alliance for Children