Friday, June 8, 2018

RIOC Announces Sunday Gardening Program With iDig2Learn For Roosevelt Island Kids 5 -12 At The Youth Center Environmental Learning Center Garden Courtyard - Children Explore Science And The Origin Of Food Through Plant Life

 Roosevelt Island non-profit organization iDig2Learn's:

... purpose is to unite the community around the idea that city children benefit greatly from time outdoors in nature using their environment to explore science, math and the origin of food through plant life.

​iDig2Learn believes that working together to create green spaces, including science gardens, builds knowledge and creates another source of interest that will strengthen the bonds of friendship in diverse communities for years to come.

​iDig2Learn provides an environment in a real world setting that excites children about food they can grow. Often city children do not get to connect with nature and this educational garden program is a hands on experience within their natural world....
iDig2Learn is beginning a new Roosevelt Island gardening program this summer. According to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Information Officer Alonza Robertson:
A new Roosevelt Island youth program invites students in grades K-5 to “get planting” on Sunday mornings at the Center.

On Thursday, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC), announced registration is now open for the summer iDig2Learn: Sundays in the Garden program allowing children to explore science and the origin of food through plant life.

“In high-density urban environments, many young people do not get the opportunity to experience nature up close,” said Erica Spencer-EL, RIOC’s Director of Community Affairs and managing director of Island’s Youth Center. “Allowing youth to grow plants in the garden excites them about science, deepens their understanding of where their food comes from and can empower them to make healthy choices.”

“When children are allowed to care for and nurture plants, they get a better understanding of the interconnectivity of living systems as a whole,” said RIOC President Susan Rosenthal. “We want young people to know they belong and have value and a role in our community and the world around them.”

Created by a local resident and TEDx finalist for “Changing the Way We Eat”, the iDig2Learn science garden initiative began on the Island and has been proudly serving Roosevelt Islanders since 2012.

“Knowing that chocolate, tea, even rubber from the bottom of our sneakers, all come from plants, boost our curiosity to find out more,” said iDig2Learn founder Christina Delfico who will lead the Sunday program. “Nature is amazing, and young people who experience garden learning are more interested in science and eating vegetables than those who don’t.”

An Emmy-nominated children’s media producer, science enthusiast, and avid gardener, Delfico shares her love of nature through iDig2Learn experiences in Nolita, Brooklyn and Roosevelt Island.

The program is open to resident youth of Roosevelt Island, ages 5 to 12, and encourages them to plant and to use their senses to see, hear, smell, touch and observe the wonders of nature up close in the Environmental Learning Center garden courtyard at the Roosevelt Island Youth Center. Children examine seeds and fruit to make the connection that food comes from the earth. They even reveal that they are seed and root eaters - a fact they initially love to deny!

“iDig2Learn: Sundays in the Garden is a program that allows youth to experience the calming elements inherent outdoors while learning where their food comes from and getting up close and personal with the science of living things. Understanding healthy food choices benefits youth and our community,” Spencer-EL said.

The free program will run Sundays in June - September at the Roosevelt Island Youth Center’s Environmental Learning Center garden courtyard. Starting at 10:30 a.m., there will be garden sessions for youth age 5 to 12 for one hour. No gardening experience is needed and all tools will be supplied. Dress for mess and come enjoy the garden.

Parents should go to if interested in signing up their children; to volunteer, parents are encouraged to email the program at

“Children never tire of permission to get messy and to plant something in the soil here on Roosevelt Island,” Spencer-EL said. “We’re excited to offer this popular program to get children outdoors, moving and planting.”
Sign up here to register for the program.