Discover the Discovery Trail: A Free, Family-Friendly Event at Gardens for Charlestown on Sept. 18

Special to the Patriot-Bridge

On Sunday, September 18, Gardens for Charlestown will officially unveil its brand new Discovery Trail. Funded in partnership with Bunker Hill Associates and the Charlestown Mothers Association, the new trail provides a fun way for kids and families to explore all that the Gardens have to offer. The event runs from 11 AM to 1 PM and is open to everyone free of charge.

There are nine interactive stations along the trail, each with a riddle to guess what garden feature is being highlighted. When users open the cover of each station, they find the answer to the riddle, a fun fact about the particular garden feature, and a QR code to get more info, including suggestions for related children’s books and gardening info for adults. The artwork on the trail markers is by Charlestown artist Sophia Moon. The riddles are the brainchild of Maribeth Harrington.

The first 100 guests will get a cookie custom-designed for the occasion by Jody Petersen of Honey Babe’s Cookies. Everyone will get a commemorative sticker and a trail map. There will also be free snacks and refreshments and childrens’ storytime on the patio.

Gardens for Charlestown has a long history of outreach to kids. Its Tend and Tell collaboration with the Harvard Kent school has introduced dozens of children to the wonders of nature over the years. But when COVID made in-person learning difficult, and more families with young children gravitated toward the organization began to look at ways of extending its mission to kids and families beyond the confines of any particular school.

“We’re a unique community garden,” says Board President Chris Schiavone. “We are privately run and self-funded, but are open to the public from dawn to dusk every day of the year.”

“This Discovery Trail is a gift we’re giving to the community,” says Amy Kennedy Slesar, coordinator of Kids and Family Programming. “We can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve built.”

Established in 1978, Gardens for Charlestown is one of Boston’s oldest community gardens. Unusual in that it is open to the public daily from dawn to dusk, the property includes 65 individual garden plots and ample common areas with native plantings and walking paths. An entirely volunteer-run 501(c)(3) organization, Gardens for Charlestown has a threefold mission: to preserve urban green space, to create opportunities for community gathering, and to provide education to kids and adults alike in the service of environmental sustainability and a love of nature. Events like the biennial Garden Tour and annual Halloween in the Garden are neighborhood staples. Kids and Families Programming include the Tend and Tell program at the Harvard Kent School, last summer’s Weatherfest, and a soon to be unveiled Discovery Trail. For more information, contact Chris Schiavone ([email protected]).

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