In Good Hands

In Good Hands
March 20, 2020 David Todd
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In Good Hands

Scarborough Educator Takes Care of Her School’s Meadoway Grow Kit Seedlings

Posted March 20, 2020

Lisa Selby has always had a green thumb. In fact, the education assistant at Woburn Junior PS in Scarborough used to design gardens for a living.

It’s easy to tell Lisa loves to weave her old profession into her new role working with children. The Meadoway grow kit was right up her alley.

When word began to circulate that local schools might shut down for longer than March break, Lisa jumped into action: “It only made sense to do what I could to contribute.”

Lisa graciously answered a few of our questions about her passion for The Meadoway seedlings.

The Meadoway gro kit seedlings

Q: Tell us about the decision to take the grow kit plants home. Did you plan to do so before they announced the extension past the march break?

LS: I had noticed the soil was drying up quickly under the lights and knew they would dry out over the break. I heard rumours in the morning the schools might be closing until April.

I work at a different place in the afternoon, so I was glad I had made the decision and packed everything in my car before I left my morning school, as the announcement about the closure came officially in the afternoon.

Q: It seems like you had to work quickly to transport an elaborate setup!

LS: It was pretty simple. The Jump Start light system is great. Lightweight and easy to assemble/disassemble.

I had purchased large resealable bags from the dollar store previously to use in the sprouting process. The seed trays fit perfectly inside and trapped the moisture. So since only a tray and a half had sprouted, I just tucked them carefully back into the bags, while the other trays were still sealed up.

Transport of the plants was easy as a result. It took two trips the get the plants to my car and one for the light system.

For most passionate gardeners, early spring is exciting. We are ready to get at it after the snow and cold weather, so having tiny seedlings already on the go just added to that excitement.

Q: What kind of arrangement do you have at home to accommodate the plants?

LS: I live in a bungalow, but currently most surfaces are full up as I work on some renos and painting in preparation for my daughter to move back home from university.

I also needed a space where my two curious, plant-loving cats could not access them.

I chose my den/art studio. There was just enough table space for the lights and plant trays, and the table is next to a window that lets in a lot of light. I can close the room off, so the curious cats don’t eat the project.

The Meadoway grow kit seedlings in pots

Q: What kind of connection did you see the students make with the grow kit plants?

LS: We had a lot of fun with the planting. At the time, we focused on the soil and the sprouting process. The students were fascinated with perlite, its origin and use in soil to aid plant growth.

Most knew of The Meadoway, had walked or cycled it with their families. I noticed they got even more excited when I Googled the plants we were growing and saw pictures of the Meadoway itself.

Q: What does The Meadoway mean to you?

LS: I grew up in Scarborough and near the hydro corridor, hiked it many times long before there was a designated pathway. I love the project.

I take many walks and enjoy cycling there as well. As an artist there is a never-ending supply of photos to be taken, and as a conservationist and urban ecosystem supporter, I enjoy the wildlife experiences.

Hawks and falcons are a common sighting, and last summer there was an explosion in monarch butterfly populations, which was very exciting to see.

monarch butterfly

The Meadoway gives me a sense of joy knowing how many people, adults and kids, can learn to appreciate the natural world right here in the city, and hopefully this encourages them to care about and think about the importance of preserving biodiversity, both flora and fauna, locally and globally.

I think sometimes living in the city we are too busy, too surrounded by concrete, and the sounds of nature seem drowned out by the drone of the highways and cars on the roads — that we can forget the value of nature and the positive effect it can have on your mental and physical health and well-being. The Meadoway is a place where you can de-stress, let nature drown out the sounds of the city instead.

Q: What’s your hope for these special plants you have taken under your wing?

LS: I hope we get a chance to plant them and then they can become a part of nature’s buffet for bees, butterflies, moths, birds, etc. All of which will contribute to building a healthy natural ecosystem in The Meadoway for all to enjoy and hopefully preserve for years to come.

In The Meadoway’s three-phase, curriculum-linked schools program, students use a grow kit to grow native plants in their classrooms, take part in an in-school interactive learning experience, and take class field trips to The Meadoway to support restoration and stewardship activities. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MEADOWAY SCHOOLS PROGRAM.