Since early April, the Bird Homestead has welcomed the second-grade class from the Carver Center in Port Chester each week for a hands-on experience in organic gardening, called “Through the Garden Gate.”
Since early April, the Bird Homestead has welcomed the second-grade class from the Carver Center in Port Chester each week for a hands-on experience in organic gardening, called “Through the Garden Gate.” In June, the children and their teachers celebrated completing the course with salads made from nutrient-rich lettuce and kale and strawberries for dessert. Dinosaur kale, with its bumpy foliage thought to resemble dinosaur skin, was a favorite of the young gardeners. It also reminded them of Roland T. Bird of the Homestead, a pioneering paleontologist, who discovered real dinosaur fossils.
Taught by Han Yu Hung, Children’s Gardening Program Coordinator at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), and Anne Mottola, an instructor at NYBG, the young gardeners learned the numerous benefits of eating fresh vegetables and fruit. The program focused on gardening without pesticides to keep our food and our environment healthy. In the tradition of entomologist Henry Bird, Hung and Mottola explained the important roles beneficial insects play. They also introduced the children to soil science and composting, explaining how earthworms and microbes help break down organic materials and enrich soil fertility.
The Anvilla Prescott Cunningham Scholarship Fund for Gardening Education at the Bird Homestead provided scholarships for the 22 second-grade students. Established by an anonymous donor, the fund honors the memory of Anvilla P. Cunningham, who lived and gardened for 57 years in Rye at 141 Apawamis Avenue, growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Mrs. Cunningham, a botanist who worked with alpine plants at the New York Botanical Garden, was a constant supporter of the Bird Homestead.
“We are honored to have the opportunity to keep her memory alive in this way. I think she would be thrilled to see the joy on the children’s faces as they learn about a subject she loved,” said Anne Stillman, president of the Bird Homestead nonprofit.
With additional generous contributions, the Anvilla P. Cunningham Scholarship Fund is expected to support the Bird Homestead gardening program for Carver Center students every year. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to the fund, it may be mailed to Committee to Save the Bird Homestead, P.O. Box 346, Rye NY 10580, with a notation on the memo line for the Anvilla P. Cunningham Scholarship Fund.