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Posts Tagged ‘Jean Devine’

Photo: Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe
Jean Devine (left) and Jayden Pineda, 7, make a meadow at the Waltham Y.

I’m excited that today the Boston Globe caught up with my friend Jean’s terrific biodiversity-education outreach. Readers may recall that I blogged here and here about how she and Barbara Passero got started on “meadowscaping” — hoping to ween homeowners from using pesticides and herbicides that harm the environment and contribute to global warming.

Debora Almeida reports on the educators’ latest work with kids: “Swimming, crafting, and playing games are staples of day camp, but kids at the Waltham YMCA are doing something new this summer.

“They’re learning how to plant and cultivate a meadow — and why they should.

“ ‘We just want to save the world, that’s all,’ said Barbara Passero, cofounder of Meadowscaping for Biodiversity, an outdoor environmental education program for students of all ages, which has partnered with the Y for the project.

“Over the course of the summer, Passero and program leader Jean Devine are teaching children the fundamentals of meadow upkeep and the importance of planting exclusively native plants. They are the best hosts for pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and moths. In turn, the insects attract other wildlife such as birds and rabbits, building biodiversity.

“While some people’s first instinct would be to spray pesticides to protect their hard work from leaf-munching insects, Passero knows that birds will take care of the insects on their own. She also refuses to use any toxic substances around the children, who truly get their hands dirty digging in the meadow. Seth Lucas, program administrator at the Waltham Y, said kids love the activity. …

“The meadow started as a patch of weedy grass, but is in the process of becoming a 10-by-60-foot flourishing garden. Passero and Devine are setting the meadow up for success with native plants that come back year after year. The plants are self-sustaining and spread on their own.”

Such a happy story! Do read the whole thing here.

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In June I wrote (here) about my friend Jean Devine’s latest venture, “Meadowscaping for Biodiversity.” Jean hoped to get middle-grade kids involved in creating a meadow where once there was lawn juiced with chemicals — and learning how meadows provide habitat for many small creatures. She conducted a pilot program over the summer with her collaborator Barbara Passero and an 8th grade science teacher, Steve Gordon.

Jean e-mails her friends and fans, “We’re delighted to announce that our 8-week summer pilot of “Meadowscaping for Biodiversity” in Waltham, MA, was a great success! The three of us, along with a strong soil turner and a landscape designer, worked with a few boy scouts (and their mothers) to repurpose a 400 square foot plot on the east lawn of Christ Church Episcopal (750 Main St. across from the Waltham Public Library) into a meadow filled with native plants.

“Why did we do this? To engage youth in fun, project-based, outdoor education, while providing native plants as habitat — especially food source — for bees, caterpillars, butterflies, birds, etc.

“The end result? An aesthetically pleasing product and proof that Meadowscaping for Biodiversity, a generative/environmental education program, pays a solution forward to the next generation by inspiring, engaging, and empowering students to be problem solvers and stewards of the Earth. All involved, including the vendors who supplied plants and garden materials, were able to see that this program helps heal the Earth and improve outdoor educational opportunities for youth ‘one meadow at a time.’ Now all we have to do is convince funders, teachers, city planners etc. of the benefits of this program!”

If you fit any of those categories or just want to learn more, contact information is here.

biodiversity-kids

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My friend Jean Devine is always up to something interesting. A Brown U grad, with an MBA from Simmons, she used to work in investor relations but in recent years has been testing the waters of social entrepreneurship.

Her latest initiative, with Barbara Passero of Sandpiper Creative, is called meadowscaping and is intriguing on many levels.

With access to a Waltham church lawn for a summer youth program, Jean and Barbara will work with kids to convert the yard into a meadow that uses native species from Garden in the Woods and provides a habitat to the bugs and other small creatures that make a healthy environment.

From the Meadowscaping for Biodiversity website: Meadowscaping “is an outdoor, project-based, environmental education program that provides middle school youth with real-world experiences in STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), while inspiring and empowering them to address challenges to the environment and our society.

“Today, few children spend time experiencing Nature and the benefits of outdoor recreation, education, and contemplation. Founder and former Director of the Children and Nature Network (C& NN) Richard Louv coined the phrase nature-deficit disorder to describe the negative effects of reduced outdoor time on children’s development. …

“Children who spend little time outdoors may value nature less than children who spend time outdoors in free play. Similarly, children who feel part of something bigger than themselves may … understand their dependence on a clean environment and know that they are responsible for caring for the Earth as their home.” More here.

The idea behind the meadowscaping summer program is that children, both at a young age and as they become adults, can actually do something about the environment.

Remember our post “The Doctor Is In” about the woman who sets up in a Providence park to listen to your worries about global warming (here)? Stop worrying and do something, say the meadowscape entrepreneurs. Give up lawn chemicals, plant a meadow, provide a home for tiny necessary critters, and work to make change.

white-iris-in-morning

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