The bell rings for lunch recess and I watch as happy faces race into the MTS garden. “We are the first in the garden!” beams a first grader. Freedom and DIRT, a magical combination the MTS Garden volunteers say make it one of the most rewarding places at MTS to be a parent volunteer.
The MTS Garden was given to the school seven years ago through a successful Fund a Need campaign. Wendy Anderson, who has been looking after the garden for the last six years, says this year the garden truly is the children’s garden. “Everything in here was planted by the kids.” Wendy’s background in teaching and her past work at the Alice Waters Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley means she brings a wonderful enthusiasm to the children when they are in the garden planting seeds, digging, weeding, watering or doing crafts. “I’m a teaching gardener. This place is the most active, inclusive and involved I can be with the children. It’s real, active learning and brings them connection, pride and ownership. And it makes the connection of what it takes to make things grow and develops an appreciation for the food they eat everyday.”
Helping Wendy is Lucie Charkin and Gwyn Thiessen. Lucie is in her third year as a garden volunteer and finds the garden a wonderful place to volunteer because it gives her an opportunity to get to know the children and see them discover new things. "They can get dirty in here and it’s OK!” The garden, she says, is most popular with the Lower School, but is also an opportunity for Buddy Bears from all grades to spend time together. Gwyn is new to the garden this year and loves how much the children do themselves and how magical it is seeing them take ownership and feel accomplished.
The MTS Garden would not be what it is without the dedication of its volunteers and we are truly grateful for the time and passion they commit. In the words of a Kindergartener on the day I visited when asked about why he liked coming to the garden, “I like to visit, it’s a rare chance.” Yes, it is. How lucky we are.
Vice President 2016-'17