The Friends of the Red Hook Public Library’s proposed Children’s Learning Garden will offer up to 1,200 square feet of additional space that can be utilized by the library six months of the year. It will offer outdoor space for many more activities and a whole new dimension of children’s outdoor learning experiences. Fundraising for the project kicked off on Apple Blossom Day in May, and in one month, $12,000 in donations and in-kind support was raised. Only $5,000 additional dollars needs to be raised in order to make the Children’s Learning Garden a reality.
The library envisions an area that can be utilized for children’s crafts and educational programs such as: creating environmental awareness of good eating habits (ground to table); the joys of gardening (vegetables, flowers, plants); and the benefits of insects and other garden creatures to our world. The area may also be used as a demonstration area for gardening, photography, and more activities with hands-on experience.
In addition, the area can be used by all library patrons (children, tweens, teens, adults and senior citizens) for reading, relaxation, and reflection. It will also be an ideal location for educational programs, like renewing awareness of Red Hook’s history as a rural farming community, displaying garden art and photos, and more. The library imagines an inviting outdoor space for events, and a relaxing meeting space that can be used by book clubs, local organizations, and others.
The space is directly adjacent to the entrance to the children’s library, making for safe and easy access for children of all ages. Safety and decorative fencing will be installed to protect the children from the close proximity of the handicapped parking area. The area will be handicapped accessible with cement walkways and a table that will accommodate a wheel chair. There will be an outdoor potting bench with sink for easy wash up. A minimum of three cement tables and chairs will be installed to accommodate up to 20 or more children at a time for activities. Up to ten large barrels will be provided for the children to plant vegetables and flowers. The cement retaining wall will be painted in a cheerful mural appropriate for a Children’s Learning Garden. Adult seating will be provided, and the perimeter of the area will be planted with decorative shrubs and plants.
Once the project is completed, it will require minimum upkeep. The Friends of the Red Hook Public Library have already committed to a yearly amount of money for maintenance, and volunteers will be solicited each spring to clean up, maintain and replant the flower beds. In the meantime, those interested in supporting the Children’s Learning Garden by making a donation or volunteering, are encouraged to contact the Friends of the Red Hook Library by email at FriendsRHPL@yahoo.com, or by calling the library at 845.758.3241.