By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star
---- — Andes residents will soon have a chance to get back to nature while also helping a school endeavor. The Andes Community Garden will be introduced Wednesday at 1 p.m. during an event at Andes Central School.
It’s part of a program that includes Farm Catskills and “Story” Laurie McIntosh presenting the culmination of Cultivating Connections at the school. The program is an interactive songwriting workshop for elementary classes designed to connect students to the world around them, McIntosh said. The program, which took about five weeks, involves learning how plants grow and the importance of clean water and healthy soil, among other topics.
Farm Catskills is a community organization working to protect and promote agriculture and the farming way of life.
During the Wednesday program, applications to plant at the community garden will be accepted. The school’s ecology club will sell seeds, and there will be tours of the school’s greenhouse and community-garden site.
Andes science teacher Ed McGee said he started the school greenhouse about a year ago as a way to teach students about farming and growing vegetables. He teamed up with McIntosh on this effort as a way to get community members involved. Those who sign up will have a chance to plant a 4-foot-by-8-foot outdoor raised bed in mid-May in return for helping to maintain the school greenhouses during the summer season. The beds are built as part of a courtyard area outside the greenhouse.
Cultivating Connections will also honor student achievements at a session to be held May 7 at Roxbury Central School that will feature a tour of that school’s garden.
When she works with Delaware County students, McIntosh said, she finds they often have a good knowledge about such subjects as the water cycle and how plants grow. She did similar programs in South Kortright and Delaware Academy in Delhi in the fall.
She said lately many students have wanted to know about what bugs live in the soil.
“It’s an exciting and messy process,” she said.