First, just a little bit of info about the Pacific Street Bears Community Garden –
a great addition to our BID…………
Founded in 1983, The Pacific Street Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden was named after a teddy bear gardeners found in the weeds at an early workday. At a time when the City had all but abandoned this corner of Brooklyn, neighbors took matters into their own hands with a beautification project that has endured for over 25 years.
By 1988, recognizing the possibility of a development project on the site, the Bears began organizing to make the garden a permanent part of Flatbush Avenue. By 1990, an agreement was in place to include the garden in any planned development. In order that the group not disband during construction, the City offered a property on Carlton Avenue between Gates and Greene. A recession ended that original development plan, but the group continued working at the new Carlton Avenue Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden!
When another group gardening on Flatbush and Lafayette since 1980 moved away, the City contacted the Bears to see if they’d care for that site too. Not wanting to see a green space go to waste, the group agreed and in 1991, the Rockwell Place Brooklyn Bear’s Community Garden was (re)born. That made them the Three Bear’s Gardens!
In 1997 a new development project began, and the original garden was plowed to make way for the Mall buildings . After incredible community support, the Bear’s fought back and recreated the garden on a portion of the original site.
With strong support from the community, the Borough President’s office, and City and State officials, all three Bear’s Gardens are now a permanent part of their communities — Carlton and Rockwell under the NYC Parks Department and Pacific Street as part of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, the largest urban land trust in the nation.
It was in 2007 that the North Flatbush Bears Community Garden got together and started planning children’s programming for the community. Just down the street from the BID’s office with all its beautiful splendor, the Garden provided a bit of respite for the community and all those who walked by. It was a perfect way for the BID to provide children’s programming in an area that is both beautiful to look at and big enough to hold a crowd of children. It was in August of 2007 that we held our very first Children’s Activity Day. And each year, the BID holds 3 children’s events at the garden.
In April of 2008 BID held its very first Earth Day Event. Over 75 children attended and they all participated in seedling planting,of Marigold flats into a composted ready planter. The children also got a lesson on composting by garden landscaper, Jon Crow as well as a demonstration on how to organize their recyclables, talks on environmental awareness and lots of information on recycling and reusing. The children had a good time decorating their very own “green” tote bags in which to carry home all their goodies. There were also volunteers on board to paint the children’s faces. The Department of Waste Management donated several Environmental Awareness coloring books. We expect to hold our next Earth Day Event on Sunday, April 26, 2009. Keep visiting our website for more details about this event.
During the summer months when neighborhood children need a break from the heat, The North Flatbush Avenue BID hosted a great Children Day in the Garden Event on August 10, 2008. The children were provided with hours of fun with storytelling, face painting, arts and crafts and gardening. There were homemade snacks and cookies provided by volunteer members of the garden.
When the Park Slope and Prospect heights neighborhood is in merriment with so many neighboring Halloween events, the BID takes great pride in hosting its very own Annual Halloween Spooktacular. That is when the garden turns into a spooky graveyard with bones, scary music, fog and coffins along with spiderwebs and bats and ghosts hanging from the trees. Volunteers from the community garden provide the children with their very own version of a favorite treat “Grilled Hallo’ween-ies”. Delicious hot dogs are set on a bun with deep red “bloody” ketchup.
The children didnt seem to mind waiting in a long line to get their faces painted like a lion, a pumpkin or a ghost by Brooklyn’s famous children’s facepainter, Bert Pinnock. Bert has become a welcome addition to our events. There were so many pumpkins to give out to each family as the children enjoyed decorating each pumpkin in their own unique way. The pumpkins were generously donated by one of our BID’s local merchant, Joe Butrico from All-Star Locksmith. Children had the opportunity to have a free photo session as they peered into a Cinderella banner for the girls and the boys had a great time pretending they were a Pirate. For some extra fun, sweet treats were provided by volunteers of the garden and it was fun watching the children bite into “ghost” cookies and “spiderweb” cupcakes. And what would Halloween be without a basin filled with water and apples for that old time Bobbing for Apples game.
Many children were able to pick up “Trick-or-Treat for Unicef” orange boxes on their way into the event so that they can bring these along with them when they go door to door on Halloween . They also had the opportunity to learn how they can make “Halloween count for kids.”
We have more events coming up in 2009 for Park Slope and Prospect Heights children and families. If you are interested in being a part of these events, want to get onto our mailing list or would like more information about volunteering, please keep watching our website for more details.