Epic Outdoor Youth-Led Project-Based Workshops For Ages 13-17*

Participants will design, build, craft, cultivate, laugh, lead, and learn while diving into inspiring projects that include: Bamboo Shelter Building, Earthen Cob Wall Construction; Bow and Arrow Making, Living Willow Structures, Farm Animal Intelligence Experiments, Mushroom Log Propagation, Biochar Creation, Woven Garden Structures, Bowl and Mask Making, Giant Tree Hang-Out Designing, and Much More.

The Youth Discovery Project at Parker Learning Gardens is designed to be an immersive hands-on experience for participants to discover ancient techniques, practical methods, and modern knowledge while developing skills in leadership and resiliency. Through interaction, collaboration, and design, our exciting curriculum seeds an awareness of important concepts (natural crafting, the soil food web, biodiverse ecosystems, organic agriculture, permaculture, sustainability, etc.) while instilling a lasting sense of awe and enjoyment for living systems. Learn more about our unique curriculum below.


HOW IT WORKS:





2023 Project List

Spring Projects

Week 2: Huge Tree Recreation Space – (03/28/23) – Beneath the canopy of our huge spruce tree is an ideal space to create the ultimate hang-out area. Swings will be installed, footholds will be mounted, climbing platforms will be set, log rounds will be placed… We have a “upcycle” pile near this tree to inspire creative features and give this playscape some real functional flare! 

Week 3: Living Willow Structures – (04/04/23) – The flexibility of willow cuttings, and their ability to root readily in wet ground, makes for wonderful life-sized weaving projects that live and grow into bushy land creatures. This week we will design, plant, twist, bend, and tie together some incredible living garden art.

Week 4: Mushroom Log Towers – (04/11/23) – Mmm… Mushrooms!?!? Yes, but not right away. By harvesting log rounds, utilizing edible mushroom spawn, and designing an appropriate fungal home micro-environment we will explore different methods on how to cultivate and grow mushrooms in logs outside.

Week 5: Carbon Capture – (04/18/23) – Today you lighten your carbon footprint! This week we will gather biomass (i.e. sticks and/or bamboo), fill our “Ring of Fire” biochar kiln, learn new things about fire and nature, and safely bask in the heat and discover how to create biochar, a phenomenal carbon negative soil amendment. Smores may be had…

Week 6: Wicked Woven Composter – (04/25/23) – This week we dive into the technique of “wattle” construction, an ancient Neolithic technology that we plan to visit again in Week 10.  We will harvest, design, build and fill a woven apple and hazel wood compost bin as we explore some of the beneficial critters in the Soil Food Web that help us recycle organic materials.

Week 7: Animal Intelligence Experiments – (05/02/23) – Let’s learn something more about our barnyard friends! This week we will design chicken runs and/or mazes and find ways to test your theories of the fittest (wittiest?) bird in the flock. Will it be a race, a test of skill, or… you decide. How might you lure a pig around the farm? Hmm… Let’s see if that works!

Week 8: Bowl & Mask – (05/09/23) – Our farm-grown Corsican gourds are cured and awaiting a simple yet profound transformation. Once we cut and craft the base of our gourds into naturally unique bowls, the top is left for you to breathe life into it as a mask! 

Week 9: Open Project Week – (05/16/23) – Youth-Led Project Day! We leave this week open to have the group design, implement and lead their own project on the farm. (We will plant the seed, discuss and strategize this week’s project in previous weeks.) 

Week 10: Woven Raised Bed – (05/23/23) – Here we go again, weaving flexible branches around larger upright stakes to form a woven lattice – waddle! This time we will be weaving a new design, filling it with fertile soil, and planting some flora for others to enjoy.

Week 11: Bamboo Survival Fortress (Part 1) – (05/30/23) – Our 3-acre bamboo forest is an adventure in itself. This week we will explore the various types of bamboo we grow, harvest some choice pieces, learn certain tying and joining techniques, and dive into designing and constructing the skeleton of what’s to come.

Week 12: Bamboo Survival Fortress (Part 2) – (06/06/23) – Now we continue into Part 2 as we add to our design and strive to finish the details that have been simmering over the past week. Check that off your bucket list: “Yeah, I Helped Build a Bamboo Survival Fortress”.

Week 13: Wall of Earthen Wonder (Part 1) – (06/13/23) – Mud, straw and nimble feet mix together to form cob, a natural building material made from subsoil, water, and fibrous organic bits. Cob walls are intended to be monolithic, like one single giant flowing brick. Cool!


Summer Projects

Week 1: Tour & Summer Orientation – (06/27/23) – For newcomers starting in the summer season, today you will discover and see the projects started in the spring. For those who are continuing on from spring season, today you get to share what you have done with the new students.

Week 2: No Class on Tuesday July 4th Due to Holiday

Week 3: Kids Sensory, Water & Mud Station – (07/11/23) – Help design, create and assemble an exciting area for youngsters to see, feel and interact with natural objects and water. Work with PVC and Bamboo to put a new use to some upcycled items from the farm. 

Week 4: Kids Sensory, Water & Mud Station – (07/18/23) – Finish crafting an exciting area for youngsters to see, feel and interact with natural objects and water. Work with PVC and Bamboo to put a new use to some upcycled items from the farm. 

Week 5: Natural Dyeing – Mordant with Allum & Start Iron Water Mordant for future use. Make Butterfly Pea Flower Dye (explore PH). Smash Dyeing with Flowers on Paper using rocks and hammers. 

Week 6: Natural Dyeing – Natural Tye-Dyeing with yellow dock, Butterfly Pea Flowers, Twin Berries, Cochineal, and Rust.

Week 7: Class Cancelled due to instructor absence

Week 8: Class Cancelled due to wildfire smoke

Week 9: Primitive Bows & Flax Bow String– (06/27/23) – Black Locust or Hazelnut Bows. Process Flax and make Bow String. 

Week 10: Pizza Party in the Cob Oven & Finish Bows & Bow String


Fall Projects

Week 1 (9/5/23): Swine Drive & Chicken Water Re-design – Move the pigs across the farm, Move and setup the elecrtric fence, water, shelter, bedding, etc. Install new hardware on chicken watering containers and mount to their tractors. (Harvest Broom Handles??)

Week 2 (9/12/23):  Apple Cider Pressing & Start Apple Butter Crock & Apple Chips – Bring a jug to fill with fresh apple cider  to take home this week! (Harvest Broom Handles??) 

Week 3 (9/19/23): Waterbath Canning Apple Butter & Understanding Farm Direct Marketing Law (FMLA) & Collect Medicinal Herbs to dehydrate. 

Week 4 (9/26/23): Living Roof Installation on Rabbit Hutch w/ Drip Irrigation

Week 5 (10/3/23): Living Roof Installation completion & Paint Hutch if time

Week 6 (10/10/23): Gourd Lamps & Nightlights

Week 7 (10/17/23): Gourd Lamps & Nightlights Completion (make a scoop or bowl if time)

Week 8 (10/24/23): Haunted Bamboo Forest Installation, Setup & Design (COME EXPERIENCE THE HAUNTED BAMBOO FOREST ON 10/28, 10/29, AND 10/31 7-10PM – VOLUNTEERS WANTED!) 

Week 9 (10/31/23 HALLOWEEN DAY): Cobwebber Brooms – make a beginner cobwebber broom out of Broom Corn (Sorghum) and a hazelnut broom handle. (LAST DAY FOR HAUNTED BAMBOO FOREST 7-10PM – VOLUNTEERS WANTED!)

Week 10 (11/7/23): OPEN WEEK – open to see where we are at and what opportunities present themselves or inspiration to be had. 

Week 11(11/14/23): Pizza Party in the cob oven & Something fun! 


Inclusion Statement:
Parker Learning Gardens is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all participants. We strive to support communities and individuals who have experienced the detriment of racism, inequality, and violence. Parker Learning Gardens is an organization that seeks to bring all members of the community together to create positive change. We acknowledge that we have room to grow to further diversify and serve our community better. As we continuously develop a plan for the future, Parker Learning Gardens is: actively educating our staff, interns and volunteers, having challenging discussions within our leadership team, and creating an strategic plan to identify and improve upon our deficiencies. We will continue to advocate for those who have faced inequality by creating a safe and inclusive community for all.
Anti-Discrimination Statement:
Parker Learning Gardens prohibits discrimination and harassment, and will take affirmative measures to ensure against them, especially if they are implemented on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,
age, marital status, national origin, disability, status as a veteran or disabled veteran, neurodiversity, personal appearance, genetic information, family responsibilities, matriculation or political affiliation. This policy applies to all employees or potential employees, interns, volunteers, participants, members of the Parker Learning Gardens’ Board of Directors, and anyone attending Parker Learning Gardens’ events, classes, workshops, garden clubs, youth programs, field trips, and tours.  This policy extends to all aspects of employment and participation at Parker Learning Gardens, including hiring, promotion, training, working conditions, policies, compensation, evaluation, discipline and termination.