The Norte Dame JMG Program was begun in 2002 by the late Al Norris, Master Gardener Extraordinaire, school sponsor Cindy Huckabee, and former Wichita County Horticulture Agent Steve Chaney.
Al and Steve installed raised beds for the kids to plant their choice of gardens. Over the years they have had pizza and salsa themed gardens. In 2008 another raised bed was added and the children decided on a pumpkin patch. Along with the vegetable patch, they have flower beds all around the school court yard areas, with annual and perennial selections and well as large rose bed.
Along with planting and tending the gardens, the kids learn about insects and diseases. They have gone on bug collecting outings with home-made bug suckers. Unfortunately we don’t have any pictures of that adventure! They’ve been out with butterfly nets and made newspaper sombreros, just a few of the additional activities that go along with gardening.
In 2005, Master Gardener Mary Barry joined Al volunteering at the gardens and she’s never looked back. When we lost Al in 2006, Mary continued in his foot steps, working with Mrs. Huckabee, carrying on Al’s legacy, teaching the children the love of gardening, the fun of growing your own food, and the wonderful friendships that grow along the way.
Ernie and Marilyn Putthoff joined the JMG crew in 2011 and have brought their love of gardening and friendship which makes the bushel baskets overflow!