Camp Fletcher Education Garden & State Farm Neighborhood Assist

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Camp Fire Alabama has been selected as one of 200 finalists in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist® program! Our submission, along with the other finalists, is live at http://www.neighborhoodassist.com and anyone with a valid email address can logon and vote for our cause. The 40 causes that receive the most votes will be announced on Nov. 30 and a $25,000 grant will be awarded to the affiliated nonprofits to implement the solution.

The Camp Fletcher Education Garden will provide students and their families an opportunity to learn about the food they eat, while providing the community with a new source of fresh, local produce. Our organization strives to improve the lives and welfare of people in our community, and we can further that mission by rallying together and encouraging others to join us in support by voting.

To support Camp Fletcher Education Garden and vote, click here  to vote! The voting phase is open from Oct. 26-Nov.4 and anyone with a valid email address is eligible to vote up to 10 times per day.

State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a crowd-sourced philanthropic initiative that lets communities determine where grant funding is awarded. The initiative utilizes the State Farm Youth Advisory Board to vet submissions for causes and empowers the community to vote for the final 40 grant winners. The program has been inspired by the incredible number of neighborhoods that are coming together to solve a problem or improve their community.

We are thrilled to make it to the top 200, but we need your help to win! Vote for Camp Fletcher Education Garden TODAY! 

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The Camp Fletcher Education Garden

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Peppers grown in the garden at Camp Fletcher

In 2014, we started developing a brand new component of our outdoor education program at Camp Fletcher. The Education Garden is a small teaching garden where campers and visitors will have the opportunity to learn about where food comes from, how it’s grown, and the importance of eating healthy food! We believe that access to and knowledge of healthy food is vitally important, and we want our campers to have the opportunity to learn about fresh produce and gardening. Our goal is to get kids interested in all aspects of gardening from science to math to healthy living.

Last summer, we grew peppers, watermelon and okra in the garden, and we cared for honey bee hives as well! This year, we are hard at work planning our garden and caring for the bees, and we plan to launch our education program during camp this summer! Campers will learn about plant life, soil, and a healthy diet and be able to assist with plant care and harvesting. This fall, we will offer garden field trips to local schools and home school groups, as well. We are so excited about the opportunity to teach kids about gardening, and to give them the chance to work in the garden and see where their food comes from.

We know the garden will be a great education resource for all the kids that spend time at Camp Fletcher, and we hope you’re excited, too! Gardening is a lot of work, and we are currently looking for volunteers to help in the garden. If you have some experience or interest in gardening and would like to help out, please contact Camp Fletcher at 205-428-1059 or by emailing campfletcher@campfire-al.org.

All of the produce grown this summer will be sold, and all proceeds will benefit garden programming. If you are interested in buying produce or honey from Camp Fletcher, check back soon for updates about where we will be selling!

Honey bees are buzzing…

Did you know that we have three honey bee hives at Camp Fletcher? These hives are part of our new outdoor education program at camp, designed to teach kids about healthy food, science and nature in an interactive learning environment! Our bees have been dormant for the past few months, but this weekend we had a volunteer come out to camp to check on our hard working bees.

Our volunteer fed the bees sugar to help them survive the winter. Sprinkling sugar in the hive once a month helps the bees last through the cold, lean months. Bees are less active in the winter, and we wanted to be sure the hives were still in great condition.

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Staff and volunteers who are not trained with bees should keep a safe distance away from the hives at all times.
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Our volunteer sprinkling sugar in this very active bee hive!

As the weather warms up, our bees will become more and more active. In the spring, we should be able to collect and process our first honey harvest. Honey can be harvested twice a year, in the spring and fall, as long as the bees have produced enough honey for themselves to survive the winter. Making and selling honey is the primary reason we have bees at Camp Fletcher, but they also have other benefits; bees pollinate flowers, increasing their health and enhancing nearby gardens. Additionally, buying and consuming honey made where you live can help with allergies because the pollen helps your body build up immunity to allergens in your local environment.

Caring for our honey bees is a fun and exciting activity that camp staff and trained volunteers have the opportunity to help with. As we get ready to harvest honey in April, we will be sure to keep you updated on our bees and where you will be able to buy our fresh, local honey!