By Beatrice Chalkley with an introduction from Sustainability Coach, Fran Agnone.
On Monday, July 31, Lentol Garden- a community garden located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn opened its gates to the families from PS 110 The Monitor School for a morning of planting, watering, and exploring. While most families pass Lentol Garden as they go about their business in the neighborhood, the gates are more often locked than open. The entirely volunteer-run effort relies on people power to tend its nearly acre of green space and it is looking for knowledgeable plant stewards to help see its gates are open more often for people in the community to enjoy.
The garden was established in 1992 as a labor of love and transformed over the years by local resident and chief garden steward, Randy Sandlin, who used to pass by the space when it was a vacant city owned lot that attracted a variety of illegal dumping. It has since become a beautiful oasis where we witnessed several Monarch butterflies coming through on their summer migration. Named in honor of Edward S. Lentol, state politician and public servant and supported by his son, current NY State Assemblyman, Joseph Lentol, the space is an underutilized gem in the community.
By teaming up with a handful of parents and children looking for a way to spend time outside on a Monday morning, the seeds of future garden stewards have been planted. If you live in the area, have a green thumb, and are interested in volunteering, reach out to Randy Sandlin at Lentolgarden@gmail.com
PS 110 student journalist and 5th grader Beatrice Chalkley interviewed several participants to give you a sense of the benefits of volunteering and spending your morning working in a garden. Here is her wrap up of what the morning was like:
Ione | 4 Years Old
She loves planting and playing in nature. She is going into Kindergarten. She has a garden at home and has many plants.
Evan| 3 Years Old
He loves adventuring on trails and enjoys digging and looking for treasure, in fact he found 2 today (an egg beater and a small plastic whale figurine).
Amy Chalkley| Parent Coordinator at PS 110 and Beatrice’s Mom
She enjoys watching all the kids enjoy themselves while learning to plant and take care of the amazing garden. She loves planting too because it is meditative.
Michi Turner| Parent of Ione and Arrow
“I feel like this was a great experience for my kids to learn about different plants and nature.”
Randy Sandlin| Chief Steward of Lentol Garden
“I think the garden lets you enter a great brain space to learn about the environment and all of nature.”
Overall, I think everyone had fun planting and exploring Lentol Garden, if you have time to volunteer, I think you would enjoy it too! — Beatrice
It is wonderful to see the participation of any community members in a green space. Having children take an interest in tending to this garden is especially incredible. The young minds that are appreciating having open space are integral to the growth of our neighborhoods! From parents to teachers to students, each community member that helps in developing open spaces is so important to our neighborhoods.