Chris Edenbo, greenhouse gardener, waters plants in the Diakon Wilderness Center's greenhouse.

Wilderness Greenhouse grows plants, productive lives

Boiling Springs, Pa. Friday June 21, 2013

Seventeen students from Diakon Youth Services’ Center Point Day Program, Turning Point Lancaster Day Treatment, and the Weekend Alternative Program are developing green thumbs as they focus on the skills necessary to build productive lives.

The Diakon Wilderness Center’s Wilderness Greenhouse is part of the vocational training program at the Boiling Springs, Pa., center, teaching youths who have been adjudicated dependent or delinquent by county courts not only horticultural but also business skills.

“We are very busy right now,” says Chris Edenbo, the Diakon Youth Services staff member who oversees the program. “In addition to the youths we are serving, I have a Dickinson College intern completing her senior internship in environmental studies and a senior from Waynesboro High School completing his senior project with me,” he says. Relationships with local businesses and landscapers continue to grow, and students are providing fresh produce to two Diakon Senior Living communities as a result of their efforts.

The greenhouse is "green" itself in that it is part of the wilderness center's environmentally sound wastewater-treatment system.

"We also currently have three adult volunteers from the community who regularly contribute time in the greenhouse, and their efforts do not include small businesses and organizations whose staff members occasionally drop in to contribute a day of labor," says Edenbo.

"The greenhouse also has received donations and business support such as space for flower sales and advertising from Konhaus Marketing, Metro Bank, Ames True Temper, and The Boiling Springs Tavern, to name just a few," he adds.

The Diakon Wilderness Greenhouse is "green" not only because it produces plants, but also because it serves as an integral part of the wilderness center's wastewater-treatment system.

The Diakon Wilderness Greenhouse is "green" not only because it produces plants, but also because it serves as an integral part of the wilderness center's wastewater-treatment system.

 

In addition, Brickman Landscaping has purchased all of its 2013 ornamental grasses for central Pennsylvania needs from the program and has already placed a fall order for pansies, Edenbo adds. "They provide clinics and workshops for our students and assess students for potential employment. They opened up two of their locations to provide Diakon-specific paid internships for one youth at each location. This is a way to reach out to our graduates as well as current students, and we are very pleased with this wonderful partnership."

The program's vegetable garden has begun providing vegetables to Morrison Culinary Services at Cumberland Crossings and Frey Village, a process that will continue into early fall.

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