Lessons and Fun in the Garden

Master Gardener Volunteers working with youth at the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center.

The UW-Extension Milwauke County Horticulture Program and a group of Master Gardener Volunteers (MGVs) will be working with the Youth Empowerment Program (YEP) of the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center (GLIIHC) this summer. The youth will learn more about garden plants and vegetables. Six sessions will be held in the GLIIHC Native Wellness Garden, a site developed to the specifications of the Native American community by our Urban Agriculture Program over the past 4 years.


Through games and fun activities, youth will learn how vegetables are grown and cared for along with basic principles of botany, soil science, insects, and diseases. Knowledgeable GLIIHC staff will present the customs and uses of native plants. Different areas of the garden will be featured during the sessions such as the medicine wheel garden, the Three Sisters Garden, the Ceremonial Circle, the pollinator garden, and the orchard.


During the first season on June 15, over 20 YEP participants ages 5 through 15 planted two raised planter beds with over 15 crops under the guidance of the UWEX staff, GLIIHC staff, family, and the MGVs. The beds are at standing height making it possible for any of the elders coming to the garden to work easily in the garden beds. The vegetables will be distributed to the Center’s elders and to the youth families when harvested. Youth participants will learn the joy of helping others and the thrill of eating the fruits and vegetables they helped to grow.