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Students help out, learn from seniors

What's better than pushing a pencil indoors on a spring day? Getting outside and digging in the dirt! Island Oak High School students spent the day down at the Jubilee Community Gardens in Centennial Park last Friday helping the mainly senior gardeners prepare the gardens for planting.

"We greatly appreciate the help, and we hope they learned something," said Ted Leischner of the Jubilee Community Gardens. Students turned compost, mulched fruit trees, and weeded the raised garden beds.

As the students worked, Leischner and other Community Garden volunteers taught them how to provide bee habitat, construct worm composters and practice permaculture. Teacher Regina Montag said that by doing instead of just learning at a desk, students are more likely to put what they learn into practice.

While the Jubilee Gardens are now an established part of the Duncan community, that wasn't always the case.

"Before the gardens were there, seniors were afraid to go to that part of Centennial Park," says Barb Kruger, a volunteer with Jubilee Community Gardens.

Kruger said the gardens were started by the Green Community, the Land Trust and the Vancouver Foundation with help from other organizations like the Maxwell International School.

"The energy was around building bridges between seniors and youth," she said.

That's an impulse Ida Steenson, a Grade 9 Island Oak High School student who helped mulch a fruit tree at the gardens, agrees with.

"Youth and seniors learn from each other," she said.