all in the same boat - connecting to nature during quarantine

For Environmental program students stuck at home, it was a thrill to recently receive a canvas bag, hand-packed by Jasmine, their Program Director. Inside they found, among other things, colorful flowerpots, small sandwich bags filled with potting soil, and a packet of something that looked like soft, tiny, black-tipped darts. Later that week, sitting with their supplies spread across newspaper on the bedroom floor, a balcony, or their living rooms, they logged on to their virtual program lesson.

Gardening activity

“Connecting to Nature During Quarantine” was the first week’s theme of the virtual Environmental student program. Getting kids outside and connected to nature is a hallmark of Rocking the Boat’s traditional Youth Development programming—they would have been tending their spartina grass nursery and getting ready to plant on the banks of the Bronx River about now—and Jasmine set her sights on helping her participants continue to benefit from nature’s restorative qualities by leading them in a little home gardening project. The darts were marigold seeds. After Jasmine had walked through all the steps, Sebastian, a freshman at Hyde Leadership Charter School and in his third semester with Rocking the Boat, arrived to the session a little late. “What do I do after putting the soil in the pot?” he asked Jasmine, who turned his question over to the rest of the class. Mouctar didn’t miss a beat before describing how Sebastian should make three holes in the pot, one inch deep, even repeating Jasmine’s helpful hint that an inch is roughly from the tip to the first crease on your index finger. Nani cautioned Sebastian three times that each hole gets just one seed, “just to make sure you understand.” “You right, you right,” he responded good-naturedly.

To the novice gardeners’ delight, their seeds sprouted within a week! Sunlight and water played their roles, of course, but the teamwork and mutual support is clearly growing right along with the marigolds.

kids don’t just build boats, boats build kids

rocking the boat
812 edgewater road
bronx, ny 10474
phone: 718.466.5799
fax: 718.466.2892