Students with Disabilities Learn Gardening Thanks to Rotary–May 25, 2011

Students and staff at CAM (Centro de Atencion Multiple), a school dedicated to children with various types of disabilities, are excited about their new garden project.

X X X X X X X X X X The Raised Bed Garden Project is a result of a contact to Friends of Cozumel made by Greenville, Texas Rotary Club members planning a cruise. They wanted to sponsor a community service project during their February port-of-call in Cozumel. Cindy Trautwein, Friends of Cozumel volunteer and local Rotarian, coordinated a joint effort with the Cozumel Rotary Club. Local Rotary members provided the expertise to plan and construct the raised garden beds funded by Greenville. Both Rotary Clubs participated in an event with children at CAM to celebrate initiation of the garden project. Greenville Rotary also donated a significant inventory of specialized learning resources to the school.

The first three months of the project have shown the children are fascinated with planting, watering, harvesting and eating what they have grown. CAM School staff feel it is a wonderful opportunity for students of all ages. Older youth take turns being responsible for daily care of the garden beds and are teaching the younger children how to care for the garden so there are many results besides seeing the plants grow. Cilantro and radishes have been harvested to make a regional salad dish shared with all the students. The raised beds make participation easy for children in wheelchairs and walkers.

During a recent visit to CAM, I asked “What are the students learning?” The garden supervisor reported students are learning as they go along and they see results of their efforts quickly. Garden “learning” relates to science and math, but also to life skills such as developing responsibility, communication and problem solving. The teens showed me they planted radishes too shallow in the first bed so the radishes were partially exposed above the soil. They planted seeds deeper the next time.

Growing conditions are great here . . . as you can imagine, students are eager to water the beds and there’s plenty of sun. This project may have implications beyond CAM . . . perhaps it could be a demonstration plot to initiate community gardens for local families.

KUDOS to Cozumel Rotary; Greenville, Texas Rotary and Cindy for facilitating the joint effort.

2 thoughts on “Students with Disabilities Learn Gardening Thanks to Rotary–May 25, 2011

  1. Phyllis Larsen

    What a cool project. I’ve often wondered why more people in Cozumel don’t grow their own vegetables. Is this something we could expand to help families in need grow some of their own food? If so, count me in to help with this project. I only wish I could bring my excess produce to the island. My garden is 80 feet by 30 feet this summer. Lots and lots of veggies expected. The excess will go to Lincoln’s People’s City Mission or the Matt Talbot Soup Kitchen.

  2. LaFonda Stephens

    Great Job! What a wonderful project for the kids! The kids will learn many things and have so much fun in the process. Thank you for sharing this project.

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