The Girl Scout troop of Ann Arbor’s Wines Elementary School—six strong—donated 10% of their cookie sales this year to Matthaei-Nichols. “Every year the girls raise money for their troop by selling cookies and they use that money to attend activities and camp and we also set aside 10% of their earnings to give back to the community,” explains Patricia Ferrer Beals, mother of two of the Wines scouts. While the troop is small, they decided to give 10% of the $550 they earned to Matthaei-Nichols, Beals adds. “They were inspired to give to the Gardens when we visited to do a drawing badge activity in the conservatory this winter.” Instead of a check to Matthaei-Nichols the troop used the money to purchase supplies for the Gaffield Children’s Garden.

Donations of money are always appreciated, of course. But the Wines scouts went further and asked if they could volunteer in the children’s garden pulling weeds and mulching. The troop spent nearly 4 hours in the grower’s area of the garden weeding and filling wheelbarrows of plant material for the compost pile. 

Wines Girl Scouts getting ready to weed

Wines Elementary School Girl Scouts putting on their gardening gloves ahead of their volunteering adventure at Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

Lee Smith Bravender, Gaffield Children’s Garden coordinator, gave a tour of the garden prior to the volunteer work session. In the growers section Bravender encouraged them to taste the herbs and vegetables. The children’s garden is about immersion in nature and that includes all the senses.

What did they think about weeding? For starters, everyone in the troop was already familiar with weeding and gardening and had done it before. 

“My mom made me pull garlic mustard,” said one scout.

Nina, who said she’s weeded “a gazillion times” struggled a bit to yank some overgrown borage out by the roots, but finally succeeded. As for what she likes best about weeding, it’s the “end result—a beautiful garden with no weeds.”

Isabella, another scout, observed, “It’s fun to be outside in the dirt. Gardening is awesome!”

A huge THANK YOU!! to the entire Wines Elementary Girl Scout troop for your monetary donation and your time! Come back soon to visit or weed again.

Weeding in the children's garden

The scouts started in the strawberry patch, where they found a lot of non-strawberry plants—otherwise known as weeds. 

Pulling up borage

One scout, Nina, struggled to pull up some deep-rooted borage but finally succeeded.

Wines girls scouts with weeds

Wines scouts pose with their harvest of weeds pulled from the Gaffield Children’s Garden.

Weeding in the children's garden

Hiding among the annual flowers in this bed were dill plants, a lot of black swallowtail caterpillars, and a young weeder.

Wines scouts pose with masks

Wines scouts wearing felt animal masks—some of the supplies they bought using the money the troop donated to the children’s garden.

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