2010 has been busy! The year started with two major seasonal projects for me at Groundwork Somerville – The Maple Syrup Project and our April Vacation Camp. I made my way around huge learning curve and a floded office which tested our resilience as an organization. Thanks to a large network of friends of GWS and energetic volunteers, we reached more classrooms than ever with the Maple Syrup Project and boiled down 130 gallons of sap to make just over 3 gallons of maple syrup despite torrential rains that started on the second day of the “big boil” and flooded the city and state. Displaced from our office, staff worked from coffee shops and living rooms.
Somehow planning and outreach for April Vacation Camp happened and we moved in to our new office just before my 30 campers gathered at the Growing Center to work in the gardens, explore the center’s many mini ecosystems, and cook each of our mid-day meals together. June 1st marked my first full year at GWS and entry into programming that I have coordinated before.
Our summer was the biggest ever – 24 high school students were employed by the Green Team program along with their 3 assistant supervisors and 3 supervisors; 12 young adults and three supervisors worked as National Park Preservers doing historical renovation in Concord and community service in Somerville, 12 middle school students earned stipends for their work for the Garden Youth Crew, and we worked with hundreds of elementary students in school-yard gardens across the city. Garden workshops on vermiculture, salsa dancing and salsa making, yoga in the garden, and using garden herbs to make tea connected Groundwork staff with old friends and new and enthusiastic neighbors. People commented that they kept on seeing Groundwork Somerville staff in brightly colored GWS shirts biking, gardening, and lending a hand throughout the city all summer long.
In the fall, we celebrated our harvest with parents, friends, and students in the school gardens and teamed up with the National Park Preserver team to put all the gardens to bed before Thanksgiving vacation. As with each season in the gardens, I was constantly challenged, energized, and amazed by the great questions, observations, and actions of our elementary Garden Club members. The end of the year is my quietest time of year when I can reflect and asses the past year and gear up for the next season. Volunteer recruitment and planning for Garden Clubs and the Maple Syrup Project starts so the pieces are in place for the new year.
2010 started with some of the most challenging feats of coordination I have ever attempted and ended as I found a balance between professional and personal life – neither dominating the other. My fellowship with the Environmental Leaders Program helped me hone my vision, reminded me to be grateful for the opportunity to have a job that helps my community and the environment, stressed the importance of balancing personal and professional needs, and connected me to an amazing network of folks working for the environment. All-in-all, it was an amazing year of learning, growing, and finding stability and sustainability.