When Sarah Kelly spends time in the community garden on campus, it is usually to cultivate vegetables.
Recently, however, instead of planting cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, she was sowing the seeds of knowledge to a group of energetic young children and helping to cultivate their minds. Several dozen youngsters between the ages of 5 and 12 visited the garden on June 19 as part of the Department of Campus Recreation's Cougar Cub Summer Camp.
Kelly, who is the program manager for the UH Office of Sustainability, was more than willing to educate them about sustainability. She taught them about the importance of gardening, organic growing, biodiversity, saving energy and water, and reducing waste. The campers also learned about the Big Belly recycling containers, a pair of which is located near the garden in front of the Cougar Woods Dining Hall.
The children seemed to enjoy the presentation, answering questions posed by Kelly and getting a hands-on look at the various vegetables and plants being grown. Students brave enough to tackle one of the questions received a tote bag filled with sustainable items, and all of the campers received rulers listing recycling facts and a coloring book showing how to reduce energy and water use.
"The campers surprised me with their level of knowledge and genuine interest in sustainability," said Kelly. "Schoolchildren in this era understand that what they do will have a significant impact on our planet. We adults have a lot to learn from these young thinkers."