I'm currently in Colorado with James. We left on Wednesday night, drove straight through the night and visited a program in Denver on Thursday morning called, Butterfly Hope. It's located in (and around) a public elementary school and serves to teach children about the natural world around them. Butterfly Hope integrates gardening, science, creativity and Spanish! (We want to teach Spanish in our program as well!) I found it online the last week and thought that it might be a good model for what we are trying to do. My Thursday class was cancelled so I thought we could take this chance to do a little research. We're going to have to start visiting the places we admire and draw inspiration from, or at the very least set up some email contact, because a year and a half (projected opening date) will pass quickly...especially with grad school in the mix. I have to focus on writing some major papers when we return to Oklahoma.
Here are some pics from the visit to the elementary school which houses Butterfly Hope. They have a great garden area with raised beds and a couple of other gardens as well. The teachers at this school use the gardening in their lesson plans.
It was a very productive visit because we got to speak to Maureen. She is the programming director and gave us some great advice! In fact, we might be returning because there is another program she told us about, Nine10Arts, that we need to visit. It looks like they are doing some very similar things to what we'd like to see happen at 612 NW 29th Street when we get our doors open. Then there is Denver Urban Gardens. They have helped establish about 23 gardens on school properties in the city. Great idea!
I'm not surprised to find so many wonderful sustainable living/creativity opportunities being offered in Colorado. The same goes for California or Portland, Oregon. But we have so many positive things going on in Oklahoma too. Check out this link for articles detailing the ways that the Oklahoma Food Coop is leading the way! Also, when I was working at the Museum, some of my wonderful docents were Master Gardeners. This program is affiliated with OSU/OKC and I know they do some amazing things. I can already tell that it's going to be really important to balance my research between what's happening in Oklahoma and in other states, but aren't we lucky that there are people who want encourage a change all over the country?
In other update news...
1. The custom windows and doors we ordered for the building are about halfway finished!
2. We're so close to getting our structural report, which means we can then get our building permit. Everything is in place and ready to go with the loan, the materials we need to renovate the outside of the building and more. We're just waiting on that report! The reason it's taking so long is that we've found some wonderful engineers that will do it for less than what they usually charge, so we can't be too pushy about getting it. We have to be grateful! And we are. We're so, so grateful for everything that people have done to encourage us and help us move down this sweet road we're on.
3. Oh and I just FINALLY ordered some temporary business cards. It's about time! They aren't permanent because we haven't gotten the non-profit established and I want to make sure that everything with our name will go through. We've found some snags because there are other places called "The Young School." So we're considering the The Young Lab. I like it. We'll see what happens!