AgriLife Extension Program Educates With Youth Gardens

| 6/18/2013 12:22:49 PM

Tags: gardening,
Youth Gardens Program 

“Okay, what’s the difference between a butterfly and a moth?” asked Natalie Cervantes, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service youth gardens coordinator for Bexar County, during her recent “Butterflies of the World” presentation to fourth-grade students at Wilshire Elementary School in San Antonio.

“Today I’m telling the kids about butterflies and insects and their role in the environment as pollinators,” Cervantes said. “We’re concentrating on native Texas butterflies because those are the ones they’re most likely to see.”

Cervantes was at Wilshire as part of AgriLife Extension’sYouth Gardens Program participation in the school’s Environmental Awareness Day activities. Through its Youth Gardens Program, the Bexar County office of AgriLife Extension, an educational outreach agency of the Texas A&M University System, provides education on gardening, horticulture and water conservation, as well as educational presentations to supplement and enrich classroom science objectives.

Youth Gardens Program education efforts are focused on introducing kids to nature and helping them develop a respect for the environment, said Lupe Landeros, AgriLife Extension director for Bexar County. Program efforts include Classroom Gardens Programs, the Children’s Vegetable Garden program in cooperation with the San Antonio Botanical Gardens, Terrarium Programs, educational camps and special events.

“We want young people to understand the importance of agriculture and being outdoors, as well as know the joy of growing their own food and learning about its nutritional value,” Landeros said. “The programs are primarily at elementary schools, but we also have some in middle and high schools. We offer teacher trainings and a Junior Master Gardener training.”

AgriLife Extension’s youth gardening activities create an environment that brings together parents, educators and the community to educate urban youth, she said. The Youth Gardens Program was made possible in large part due to the support of the San Antonio Livestock Exposition, Inc.

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