COLUMBIA CITY, Ind. (WANE) – Registration for Giving Gardens of Indiana’s Farm and Forest School program opened Friday.
“There’s not really any other nature immersion programs in Whitley County and so we’re very excited to offer something different in this county,” said Rachel Alexander, the executive director of Giving Gardens Indiana. “It’s definitely something that we see that the community wants and we’re happy to offer it.”
The nature program, which has been around for almost a year, allows children ages three through12 to explore the outdoors and study plants and animals. Kids are also taught about trees and fungus.
“It’s all about like what do we have here in our county on the land that we’re on, just so that they get familiar and want to care for where they live in their own community,” said Jessica Burkett, the garden’s educational director. “It helps academically, it helps socially, it helps with critical thinking, problem solving, physical activity.”
Currently, classes are offered on either Tuesday’s or Thursday’s. Children go once a week for three hours, for 10-weeks semesters. However, Alexander and Burkett say they are considering adding a Monday class because of how much interest the program has received.
“We actually have coming from all of our surrounding counties and even Ohio and Michigan that are driving for the class,” said Alexander. “We were reluctant considering that nothing like this is offered around here and so we’re very pleased that there’s so much interest that there’s even a waiting list and that we’d have to open another class.”
To support the program, Giving Garden’s is hosting an ice cream social event on Saturday, August 7. The day will include plant-based ice cream, kombucha, a bounce house, tents, a raffle, live music, face painting and the Mad Ants mascot.
The garden is located at 479 Towerview Dr, Columbia City, IN 46725.
Registration costs $375 in addition to a $50 registration fee for first time students. The link to sign up can be found here.