Plant Day 2012

A community grows from tiny seeds

New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal
Sat Jun 11 2011
Page: A9
Section: Opinion
 
Saint John’s Marigold Project is rooted in a simple premise: that the seeds of good citizenship must be planted and nurtured for communities to grow.
 
Under its auspices, more than 1,000 elementary school students planted 40,000 marigolds in the city this week. Overnight, the look of historic Saint John has been beautified for the fourteenth time in as many years.
 
This is how you build a community – by engaging children and youth in making it better, from the street level on up.
 
The project began with local teacher and community leader Barry Ogden, and Bernie Morrison, of the city’s leisure services department.
 
They were looking for ways to beautify the city while engaging local children and youth.
 
From humble beginnings, it has grown to include 55 sites across two school districts.
 
The Marigold Project’s success can been seen in the enormous support it attracts, and the respect it has generated. Across Saint John, the planting program has been emulated by neighbourhood associations, include ONE change, which hosts all-age community cleanups. Schools have branched out from planting flowers to painting murals that commemorate the city’s past.
 
The project’s first student participants are now attending colleges and universities, while a new generation of students is tending the city’s curbside gardens, alongside municipal and provincial politicians and community volunteers.
 
With each flower that they plant, they are learning what people working together can accomplish, from beautifying a city to building a better province. Thank you, children of Saint John. 
 
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