Courtesy of the Green Center
“I found a unicorn tail!” shouts a little girl with a long braid, as she sprints through a garden clasping a feather. She’s tracking down elements to build a 3-D animal. Her headquarters? The Green Center (8025 Blackberry, 314-725-8314, thegreencenter.org).
Laura Streett, board president of TGC, lets a handful of chickens out of a coop so the scampering 8 to 12 year olds will have a better shot at finding tails for their animals. The kids are part of TGC’s Enchanted Adventures camp, which lets kids “build their own outdoor world.” Streett yells after them, “Use your outside voices.” The center has operated in a brick house off Blackberry Avenue for the past 15 years. They run programs for kids from preschool through high school, and in the fall and spring, for kids ages 4 to 7.“
Our passion is connecting kids to nature, but incorporating science and the arts,” Streett explains. When gourds are in season, campers pluck them from the stem to carve and paint. In another camp, kids make scent sacks out of herbs picked fresh from the garden. Oregano, with its pizza scent, is the crowd’s favorite.
Streett opens a white trash bag. “Oh, I see we’ve got sweet flag in here,” she says, also pointing out fluff from a milkweed pod. Then the students travel to a neighboring wooded area to get a variety of materials for building fairy houses. “This is a very different way for them to use their brains than they’re used to,” Streett says.