Shake off winter’s cold and enjoy the sunny days of spring and summer by participating in Strawberry Jam, Garlic-Palooza and other events, environmentally focused workshops, community greening projects, field trips and more provided by Greater Newark Conservancy. Involving everyone from children and families to young professionals and retired seniors, the Conservancy’s programs contribute to a greener and healthier environment in the Greater Newark area. A recently released Spring/Summer 2014 Programs & Events guide provides a comprehensive guide to the Conservancy’s upcoming activities and opportunities to get involved.
While the Conservancy offers a variety of programs throughout the year, the urban environment comes alive with the advent of warmer weather. The Prudential Outdoor Learning Center on Prince Street will open on Saturdays, starting April 5th, for self-guided tours and visits even if there are no events taking place. In addition to the Strawberry Jam, Saturday, June 7th, at the Court Street Urban Farm, featuring freshly grown strawberries, plus demonstrations on how to make tea, strawberry crafts, and a musical “jam session”, and Garlic-Palooza, Saturday, July 26th, at the Hawthorne Hawks Healthy Harvest Farm (HHHHF) on Hawthorne Avenue, where you can learn about garlic’s health benefits, create garlic crafts and then taste a variety of garlic, the Conservancy will also host a Spring Open House on Saturday, April 19th at the Outdoor Learning Center with guided tours of the gardens, extensive spring bulb displays, crafts to make and take home and the kickoff to the Youth Farm Stand season with fresh produce from the first spring harvest for sale. A Nelson Mandela Birthday Tribute, also at the Outdoor Learning Center on Friday, July 18th, adds to the long list of exciting events in the months ahead.
Workshops & Field Trips
Free workshops this summer include everything from “Growing Up, Techniques to GrowVertically and Save Space” on June 19th to “Planning for a Fall Garden” on July 17th to “Intensive Gardening” on August 21st. Field trips to the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Warren County on June 14th and a “Walk and Talk” at Essex County’s South Mountain Reservation on June 28th are schedule highlights. Group field trips to the Conservancy’s Prudential Outdoor Learning Center for students from pre-K through grade 8 cover topics like “We Need Bees,” “Healthy Eating: The Power of Good Nutrition” and “Our Sustainable City.”Longtime Favorites
The annual Spring Block Party at the Outdoor Learning Center on May 10th includes a plant sale (just in time for Mother’s Day), lots of free and fun activities for the whole family including music, kids’ crafts, face painting, gardening and cooking demonstrations (with free samples!), a garden supply giveaway plus lots of information booths and vendors. Newark Youth Leadership Project (NYLP) interns will be staffing the Youth Farm Stand, offering fresh produce for sale.
Greater Newark Conservancy can also help you become a master garden plotter by providing the space and expert assistance in urban gardening through the Plot It Fresh Program. Gain the satisfaction of growing fresh and healthy food when you adopt your own garden plot. Tools, soil, garden beds and seeds are provided; free on-site workshops and programs are available. Plot it Fresh members, along with the community are invited to cook up what they grow and participate in the annual “Plot Luck” dinner on August 5th.
As a volunteer, you can contribute at the Conservancy’s Outdoor Learning Center, urban farms and community gardens located throughout the City of Newark. “We are always looking for volunteers – individuals or groups – to help out,” said Robin Dougherty, the Conservancy’s Executive Director. “Spring is here and there is lots of work to be done in the gardens,” Dougherty continued. “All ages are welcome, and you can participate as a group representing your school, your religious organization, your community group or as business co-workers – no experience necessary!”
Founded in 1987, Greater Newark Conservancy’s mission is to promote environmental stewardship to improve the quality of life in New Jersey’s urban communities through environmental education, community gardening, beautification of neighborhoods, job training and environmental justice. For more information on the Conservancy, and to download the complete Program & Events guide visit CityBloom.org. You can also follow news from the Conservancy through social media; Facebook.com/GreaterNewarkConservancy and Twitter at @Citybloom87.