Nikira Hernandez '08

Location of Internship: Gardening the Community

Gardening the Community (GTC) is a youth-centered community based urban agriculture program in Springfield, MA. We grow organic fruits and vegetables on formerly abandoned lots while learning about and practicing agriculture, environmental stewardship, and community development. Our vision is to help introduce and foster principles of sustainable living through urban agriculture.

This summer Nikira helped install a rain garden at one of the garden sites for GTC.

"In a city of concrete and rooftops, rain water has less area to seep into the ground, be filtered by plant life, and return to underground water systems that replenish our lakes and reservoirs. This rain garden, which will collect water from the Gardening the Community garden shed and a local home, demonstrates a simple way to prevent city rain water from going into the sewer system. The garden not only provides a useful function, but also is a great tool to teach kids about native plants and water conservation, as well as increase the aesthetic value of the site." - Kristin Brennan Director of Gardening the Community

Volunteers from Springfield College, students and College President, Dr. Richard Flynn (purple shirts), Community residents Bree and her niece, Kristen Brennan (down left) and Nikira Hernandez (down right). Standing inside rain garden during installation.