Downs Community Garden Hosts Family Learning Day


Members of the Downs Community Garden invite families to attend a woodworking workshop or food preservation workshop on Saturday, Sept. 14. Both events start at 10 a.m. and will end at noon. The woodworking course will be held at the garden and the food preservation workshop will be held at the Lighthouse Church in the fellowship hall.

“We are excited to be expanding educational opportunities through the community garden,” said Beth Christians, a member of the planning committee. “When the garden was started this was in our long-term plan and we’re happy to be hosting activities for families enjoy together.”

Participants of all ages and levels of experience are invited to attend.

“Both workshops will cater to a variety of experience and interest,” Christians said.

Those that choose woodworking will be making birdhouses, talking about the types of birds found locally and going on a nature walk to see what kinds of wildlife can be spotted.

“Birds and other creatures play an important part in the garden,” Christian said. “We put up Purple Martin houses last year and the birds eat a tremendous amount of mosquitos and other pests. We will talk about how and why birds and wildlife are important to the garden.”

A food preservation workshop will offer participants a way to enjoy their garden harvest well past the growing season.

“Food preservation has become on trend again,” Christians said. “There’s a new generation of people who want to save money, eat healthier and better understand where their food comes from. We recognize this interest and think we can offer some help and new ways of thinking about food preservation.”

The workshop will focus on types of food preservation including canning, freezing, drying, pickling and others. Presenters will go through the health and economic benefits of preservation. Participants will have the opportunity to sample foods preserved in several ways.

The planning committee is looking forward to the response to the workshops.

“We purposely planned these workshops on the same day hoping that families would attend,” Christians said. “We encourage family members to go to one of the sessions and then, over lunch, have a conversation about what they learned.”
Christians says the family component has been a key in the planning for the events.

“From our own experiences we know that families are looking for activities they can do together,” Christians said. “Not everyone in a family has the same interest so we hope that these workshops can provide activities that facilitate conversation and learning beyond Saturday morning.”

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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