Little green thumbs

Published 9:49 am Saturday, July 25, 2009

FRANKLIN—Graduation ceremonies were held late last week for 14 youngsters who completed a gardening course at the Little Green Thumbs Junior Master Gardening Camp held at the Paul D. Camp Workforce Development Center.

At the 11 a.m. ceremony, which was held at the Workforce Center, each child received a certificate for participating in the weeklong course.

Boys and girls from area schools, grades two through five, had spent the previous week adhering to the theme, “Going green — recycling, reusing and reducing.” They learned about such things as different soils, ecology, taking care of the environment, landscaping and herbs.

“They even made things that they could take home,” said Elizabeth Sager, team leader.

Sager, a Certified Master Gardener, was one of the 14 teachers who volunteered to instruct the children.

“We showed them how to pot plants and how to make a catnip sock and a sleep sachet using different herbs.”

Sager said the youngsters, who had classes from 9 a.m. until noon, were given a different subject to learn about each day.

“For instance, on Monday, we taught them how to identify different soils and then Tuesday, we took them to the Virginia Tech research farm in Holland to pick vegetables.

“On Wednesday, they learned about taking care of the environment, while on Thursday, the subject was landscaping.”

Friday, before graduation, their class was about the different uses of herbs.

“Herbs are not only good for eating, but can be used for medicine and can have aromatic uses as well,” Sager said. “Some of the children were surprised at this.”

The course is done in conjunction with Virginia Tech to teach both children and adults in the community about horticulture, according to Sager.

The teachers, who are all Master Gardeners with 100 hours of combined classroom and volunteer work, do this on a volunteer basis.

“We all enjoy working with people who are interested in this, especially kids,” said Sager. “We try to make their classes fun and exciting.”