Reminder: Get Your Groundwork Gala Tickets Today!

April 12th, 2012

Don’t wait, get your Groundwork Somerville Gala tickets today!

Groundwork Somerville presents our Annual Fundraising Gala and Volunteer Appreciation on Friday, April 27th from 7-10pm at the Center for the Arts at the Armory.

Join us this special once-a-year night when we clean off the dirt, get dressed up, and celebrate the amazing accomplishments of the past year, while raising money for the big year ahead and toasting to our amazing volunteers and interns who have put so much effort in over the past 12 months. They’ve planted seeds, boiled syrup and built beds, and are ready to do it again this year! We’ll be celebrating all night with live music, prizes, and beer samples from Somerville Brewing Company. Tickets are $25 each at VIP tickets can be purchased at the same site for $50 – VIPs get three drink tickets and a ticket for our raffle drawing.

Tickets are free for volunteers! If you volunteered in the past year, RSVP to Ron at with the subject title “RSVP Gala”.  In your email, include the date and project that you volunteered for.  We will send you a confirmation email to confirm that your name is on the list.

Email for more info or discount codes.

Sustainable Seafood Teach-in

April 10th, 2012

A collaboration between Let’s Talk About Food, the Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School, Chefs Collaborative, and the Cambridge Science Festival

Fishing for Sustainability, 1:00-5:00pm, Harvard Science Center B, 1 Oxford Street
Cost: $10, free for Harvard students (with ID). Purchase tickets here.

Sustainable Seafood Forum, 7:00-9:00pm Forum at Museum of Science, Blue Wing
Cost: Free, pre-registration required. Register here.


Fishing for Sustainability: Finding the fine balance between our fish and our fishermen
1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Harvard University Science Center B 

Our waters may be cold, but the topic of sustainable fishing in New England is hot. We know that the bounty of the sea is special to New England. How do we most accurately assess our fish stocks? Which fish varieties should we be eating? How do we maintain the tradition and livelihood of our fishing fleet and still safeguard our environment and our fish? Where does Aquaculture fit in? Join us for this Teach-In on New England fishing and hear from experts in policy, science, nutrition, the environment, business — and from our fishermen.

More info and full schedule at

Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside)

April 9th, 2012

In celebration of Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside) month, the Growing Center is holding a series of Open Houses. All families and children welcome to stop by-to play, explore and learn.  Join us from 3pm to Sunset!

Let’s Grow Somerville! Urban Agriculture Workshop

April 5th, 2012

Saturday, April 21 from 10am-noon at Mudflat Studio, 81 Broadway in East Somerville
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone invites you to kick off the growing season and the
Earth Day weekend with an educational workshop celebrating Somerville’s Urban
Agriculture Initiative. Join expert and novice gardeners and farmers to share
information about growing food in the city. Short presentations will be given on:
• Local food. JJ Gonsan, Cuisine en Locale
• Urban soil, before you grow. Luisa Oliveira, City of Somerville
• Growing vegetables: the basics. Jesse Banhazl, Green City Growers
• Container gardening demonstration, Groundwork Somerville.
Feel free to bring your extra seedlings to exchange with others.

Teen Open Mic @ the Armory

April 5th, 2012

Join the Groundwork Green Team, Books of Hope, and Somerville Teen Empowerment for the 2nd Teen Open Mic Night in the Cafe at the Armory.

Boston Tree Party Delegation mixer

April 5th, 2012

Boston Tree Party Delegation mixer event hosted by Groundwork Somerville and Somerville Climate Action. Monday April 9, 6-7:30pm. Come meet representatives of other current and prospective Delegations, watch the new BTP documentary, and sample some local sparkling cider. Bring some food and prepare to have fun!

Blog post about community screenings: 
Facebook event:

Get Outside: The Healing Power of Open Spaces

April 4th, 2012

“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” -William Arthur Ward


Studies show that being outdoors and being exposed to green spaces can be can be healing and restorative for adults and children.

Playing in nature and having unstructured playtime outdoors can also provide the kind of appropriate developmental risks that all growing children need. Climbing, playing with rocks and sticks, making ‘secret houses’, and digging in dirt are all beneficial to children’s growth and development.

I kept this in mind last week as we went on our Mystic River nature walk wanting to ‘lead’ but also wanting them to experience things in an unstructured but safe way.

Our group of children, youth and adults started by observing a spring swarm of ants by the front door of the Learning Center. We leaned down to get a closer look to see what they were doing and talked a bit why I didn’t want them to step on the ants. The children talked amongst themselves and used hand lenses from a kit that Somerville Community Growing Center had donated to their program to get a closer look.

We closed our eyes and listened to the sounds around us, felt the wind, and observed the blue sky, spied bright yellow daffodils, which some children gently touched and smelled. One boy told me that he saw them the day before but the flowers had not opened until that day.

At the boathouse we walked to a quieter spot by the river and the children were given pre-made journals. I asked them to look for evidence of animals while not moving from their spot.  They immediately looked around and found; nests in the bare trees, goose poop, and remnants of eaten pinecones. Further investigation found, webs in the trees, pink flowers, swollen tree buds, and many kinds of trees. One girl heard a woodpecker and happily using the guide handed to her by another teacher, found the bird she thought she saw. Ducks and geese paddled paddled by while starlings and grackles flew overheard. Suddenly a red tail hawk flew low by us and across the river! One group of boys sat as close to the river that they were allowed, throwing and rolling rocks into the water.


The best discovery was when a girl ran over to me, shouting my name and holding a short stick covered with ¼ cylindrical overlapping brown ovals-upon later investigation in my bug guide book, I found that they were katydid eggs! The light green winged insect that sits high in the trees making the familiar sounds we hear all summer long.  We were out for 1.5 hours and everyone was having fun and enjoying being outdoors.

The Growing Center provides a safe space to run and play and explore. In our ¼ acre space we have steps to climb, places to hide, plants to gently touch, clean soil to play in, rocks to peer a small, a shallow pond to sit by, a solar fountain, and blossoms of the spring trees to look at.

The Children in Nature Initiative of the Somerville Community Growing Center has been busy these past weeks; we’ve hosted a free public screening and discussion of the film “Mother Nature’s Child”, led a nature guide walk by the shores of the Mystic River for the children and youth in the after school program at the Mystic Learning Center, and met with a group of Somerville preschool directors  to talk about using the garden as a outdoor classroom, and space for unstructured playtime in nature. We also gave these directors a copy of our bilingual “Our Garden Nature Guide-Nuestra guía de la naturaleza del jardín”.  In addition, this past Sunday, Clare Walker Leslie, author, artist and naturalist led a walk/sketch program at the Growing Center.

For the month of April we have also organized several open houses at the Growing Center  in connection with the national Children in Nature Network’s, “Let’s G.O.(outside)campaign and are hoping to have Clare back at the end of April to lead an inter-generational nature walk at the Growing Center.

The Children and Nature Initiative of the Somerville Community Growing Center and Children and Nature Network share this common goal; to bring together intergenerational groups of people to get outside together to be active, have fun and connect with nature.

We hope to see you and your family at the Growing Center in the month of April and beyond.

Interested in volunteering or running your own group? Get in touch with us at the email below.

Let’s G.O.!  Play-Explore-Learn at the Somerville Community Growing Center

All families and children welcome
Saturday April 21 from 9am-12pm
Monday April 30 from 3pm to sunset!
Friday April 27 from 9am-1pm
*Sunday, April 29 from 1:00-2:30pm, Intergenerational Walk with naturalist Clare Walker Leslie, TBC Check website!

Growing Center Playgroup

For families with children ages 0-5

Every Friday from May 4 through October 26 from 9am-1pm
For more information, visit
or call Paula at 781-643-3714

Sponsored by the Growing Center’s Children in Nature Initiative
as part of Let’s G.O.! (Get Outside) April 2012
Supported by New England Grassroots Environment Fund

Paula Jordan is the coordinator of the Children and Nature Initiative at the Somerville Community Growing Center. She lived in Somerville until she was 10 years old and remembers the neighborhood walks she went on with her mother, brothers and sisters to Powderhouse Park looking for nature. She is very excited about getting to see those katydid eggs!


Rain Garden Building

April 4th, 2012

Rain garden volunteer opportunity “technical work” along the Northern Strand Trail in Everett for 10-15 volunteers on Saturday 5/5, 10-2pm near the Madeline English School.

Time:  Saturday May 5. 10:00-2:00
Location: Behind the Madeline English School in Everett.
Wear: Sturdy shoes, and bring gloves. Tools and materials will be provided.

Email for more info or to sign up

Space Still Available: April Vacation Camp

April 2nd, 2012

Space is still available in Groundwork Somerville’s April Vacation Camp!

Don’t spend the April vacation sitting around inside.  “Spring into Action!” with Groundwork Somerville at the Somerville Community Growing Center.

Camp is for 2nd and 3rd graders and runs from Tuesday April 17th to Friday April 20th ~ 9:00am – 2:30pm

Click here for the flier and registration form in English  or en Español

This program provides environmental education and physical activity, and gives children experience preparing balanced meals.  Second and third grade Somerville campers cook and eat their own delicious lunch each day.  They participate in outdoor activities in the  Somerville Community Growing Center’s garden space, and go on a field trip to Gaining Ground’s vegetable farm in Concord, MA. $120 fee, sliding scale. Interested families can contact Tai Dinnan at (617)628-9988 or  Students are encouraged to enroll with friends for an especially fun week of camp!

Find out more at: