Garden Ambassadors = Girl Power

Every year I have a different number and mix of 5th grade Garden Ambassadors.  This year, I’m thrilled to have 10 amazing girls.

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A new feature in the program this year is the “Headquarters” board in the garden room. The girls love checking the board….

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A few snippets from one of the outstanding Garden Ambassador applications:  (You know who you are!)

I would like to serve as a Garden Ambassador because when I was little I looked up to the garden ambassadors.  I would like that to happen to me.

I think a garden ambassador should have the ability to be a school representative.  A garden ambassador should be a good public speaker. They should also be willing to give up their extra time for the garden.  I think they should be focused, determined, mature, hardworking, trustworthy.  They should be respectful, responsible and compassionate.

I would also like to be a garden ambassador because it will give me an opportunity to interact with people.  I can also help the garden.  Being a garden ambassador is something to be proud of.

I know being a garden ambassador will help me be a better public speaker.  I will also gain more self-confidence. I will gain more knowledge of the scientific world and the garden.  It could make a remarkable impact upon my life.

To learn more about our Garden Ambassador program, look here or here or here.

From the mouths of ambassadors

I have a small, but lovely, crop of new fifth grade Garden Ambassadors for the year.  Last week most of them “tested” to get their official t-shirts.  After reading garden notes and practicing with me, they each gave the full garden tour, proving they are ready to host campus visitors by themselves.  It’s a big moment when they receive their official gear.  Here are some of their funny and profound thoughts on being ambassadors, from their applications.  Enjoy!

What do you think are good qualities for a Garden Ambassador to have?

“I think a Garden Ambassador should be sweet, charming and funny. I think they should occasionally make a joke, but not joke too much.  A good Garden Ambassador should speak to their guest with respect.  I also think that they should speak with a lot of personality, and not just speak in monotone.”

“…Garden Ambassadors, every single one of them, should have your full attention.  They should be able to control themselves and be a good example for everyone.  THEY ARE IN FIFTH GRADE!”

Why would you like to serve as a Garden Ambassador?

“I enjoy meeting new people!  I also want to put to the test how charming and funny I can be without blowing it. I find that meeting lots of new, eccentric people with expose me to different personalities.”

“My Mom has a big garden.  I would love to learn a little more.”

“We are so lucky to have our own garden at our school.  I want to say to my kids when I am older that I was a loyal, helpful Garden Ambassador…I would also like to come home and tell my Mom about how Garden Ambassadors went everyday!”

What do you think you could learn from serving as a Garden Ambassador?

“I will learn how to talk to people that I’ve just met as if I’ve known them forever!  I will also learn lots and lots of plant names!”

“I think I or anyone could learn how to care for other things that are not yours.  I think we will learn how long and hard people work on our garden just for us to have a garden at our school. We could learn all of the plants and know that you are spending time on something that is worth it!  I am so happy that I might be a Garden Ambassador!”

Me too.  🙂

 

 

Wanted: new crop of Garden Ambassadors

At the beginning of the school year, I visit the fifth grade class, give a pitch for Garden Ambassadors and pass out applications.  This week I conduct interviews.  The returning (sixth grade) senior garden ambassadors have already been chosen, and today two of them spent part of their lunch to help me water and harvest for tomorrow’s lesson.

The application asks three questions.  Naturally all of the students wrote about having good character, demonstrating leadership qualities and being interested in all aspects of gardening.  Here’s a few of my favorite lines from this year’s application.

What do you think are good qualities for a Garden Ambassador to have?

Good qualities for a Garden Ambassador are respect, motivation, and an open heart.

I think some good qualities for a Garden Ambassador to have are being willing to get their hands dirty.

Knowing how to decipher weeds from produce!

I think good qualities to have are a good memory and a helpful soul.

Good listening and you can’t mess around! When you’re talking to a guest, don’t mumble and talk clearly.  Last year I created the Green Team and really enjoyed being a leader!

Why would you like to serve as a Garden Ambassador?

Because I think our garden is beautiful and I want to be a part of it!

This would teach me how to plant my own garden.  It would make me so happy if I were chosen!

I am interested in different plant species and how wonderful they look and what they do for our ecosystem.

I remember seeing the Senior Garden Ambassadors and saying I want to do that, and now look, I might!

I’d like to serve as a garden ambassador because I believe we don’t grow the garden, it grows us.   (I’d also love to play my violin in the garden to welcome special guests.)

I see it as an art form.  A blank canvas waiting to be painted.

I want to do it to inspire the younger kids to become Garden Ambassadors. 

What do you think you could learn from serving as a Garden Ambassador?

I could learn how to talk to the public or give a speech without being shy or nervous.

And finally, an addendum to one of the applications (I could clean out the gazebo if you were having guests):

Garden ambassadors, tour guides, rock stars

Another responsibility of our fifth and sixth grade Garden Ambassadors is to give tours.  I work with them on the how’s (shaking hands, making eye contact, friendly smiles) and the what’s (correct and succinct information, good stories, personal anecdotes) of being a good tour guide.  Throughout the year, when we have a guest on campus interested in seeing the garden, one of the ambassadors will be tapped to give the tour.  Last week an ambassador gave a tour to a pediatrician on campus for the day; another one recently spent her recess giving a tour to a group of parents visiting from a San Diego school.

Today all ten of them were “on.”  Our school celebrated Global Youth Service Day by holding a short open house to showcase to the wider community our service learning projects.  Garden Ambassadors also gave garden tours.  The last two weeks we have had three “working lunches” to prepare. The students spread out at “stations,” introducing themselves and talking about their section of the garden to each visitor that approached.

They were smart, poised and welcoming, and I was incredibly impressed, once again, by the level of leadership to which kids can rise when given the chance. (The seriousness with which they take their job is charming too!)  I was very proud of them, and I was also reminded of how much joy I derive from working with kids in gardens.

Tour guides in action, sporting offical yellow (5th) and green (6th) ambassador shirts

Ambassador talking to the local press

ESK manages the "honor herb" garden---take a handful of herbs for a quarter

"Early Start Kindergarten" (ESK) does worm composting in their classroom

First grade manages the "Boxtops" program which raises money for the garden

The K/1 classroom looks after the butterfly garden

Third graders are in charge of lunchtime composting