Saturday, July 19, 2014

A summer camp bus adventure to Indy Urban Acres

When Tiffany Boyd asked me to visit her summer camp in Fountain Square at the Southeast Community Services, it was about bringing in a slideshow presentation about climate change. What I've learned this summer, however, is that summer camp may not necessarily be the best context for science learning — especially in a rambunctious, adventure-oriented summer camp setting.

So upon further investigation, I learned from Tiffany that her campers — numbering nearly two dozen kids, aged 9-16 — have mastered riding the IndyGo bus system.

I began then to think of interesting destinations for these campers.

For those of you who read this Climate Chronicles blog, you know I write a lot about food, and about the connection between food and climate change. And how climate change will threaten our food security. No surprise, then, that I thought of my friend Tyler Gough and his Indy Urban Acres.

Sitting on 8 acres, Indy Urban Acres donates 100% of its fresh veggies and fruit to local food pantries thru its partnership with Gleaners Food Bank.

Tiffany agreed that Indy Urban Acres would be a great destination, given that her campers have been working the community garden located next to the Southeast Community Services Youth Center in Fountain Square. So here are some photos of our great adventure to Indy Urban Acres!

Waiting for the #22; Tiffany (left) hands out bus passes.

Discussing water bottle technology. On the left is Alexis, Youth Power Indiana intern, going into her senior year at Hanover College.

Stop one, accomplished, now walking the Cultural Trail to the bus stop.  
Awaiting the #21.

Destination. Tyler Gough greets the campers.

Checking out the community garden adjacent to Indy Urban Acres.

Tyler talks to the campers about his honeybees.

Kids love chickens.

Indy Urban Acres started growing flowers this year.

Inside the hoop house where Indy Urban Acres grows food even in the coldest weather.

Getting soil for the green bean seeds Tyler gives kids when they come visit.

Awaiting the final bus home.

I was so impressed with these young people's ease with the bus system. Truly, it was a hilarious day, as regular bus riders were largely excited to be riding the bus with all these great kids. The bus drivers tolerated it all with good humor.

Teaching kids how to use public transportation seems to me to be one of the most important skills imaginable. I look forward to working bus navigation into my own work at Earth Charter Indiana and Youth Power Indiana.


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