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NPS Arrowhead National Park Service
US Department of the Interior
Office of Public Health 1201 Eye Street, NW
Room 1131
Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 202-513-7215
Fax: 202-371-1349
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Rosie’s Girls’ Victory Garden CommunityService Project
Rosie the Riveter NHP 2010
Points Of Contact
Director
(202) 513-7217
Assistant to Director for Science
(202) 513-7097
Epidemiologist
(505) 248-7806
Assistant to Director for Field Operations
(202) 513-7056
National Capitol Region
202-619-7070
Northeast Region
(215) 597-5371
Southeast Region
(404) 507-5730
Mid-West Region
(402) 661-1718
Intermountain Region
(505) 988-6040
Pacific West Region
(510) 817-1375
Alaska Region
(206) 220-4270

Project summary
The National Park Service partnered with the YMCA, city of Richmond, West Contra Costa School District, and other partners to sponsor two 3-week camps called “Rosie’s Girls” in June – August 2010. The program introduced middle-school girls to a variety of hands-on experiences and careers, and linked those experiences to the history in their own backyard in Richmond, California. The main community service project of the program was a victory garden. The girls constructed raised planting beds for a victory garden, learned about the history of healthy eating during World War II, and took part in a variety of activities related to food and nutrition.
 
Measurable outcomes of the project (e.g., number of girls who participated, how many hours did they put in the project, what lessons they learned)
Approximately 42 girls participated in the program during two separate 3-week camps. The girls put approximately 924 hours into the project. Activities included:

• They learned about victory gardens and did a fruit and vegetable nutrition activity.
• They constructed two raised beds out of redwood, 2’ x 12’ x 4,’ for a victory garden on school grounds. They learned how to design the beds, measured out the lumber, and used power tools to cut the wood.
• They moved 7 yards of soil using wheelbarrows and shovels.
• They did a seed sorting activity.
• They sowed seeds for planting in the victory garden.
• They planted vegetable starts in the raised beds.
• They made decorative seed packets (see enclosed sample) to give away at their final community celebration on August 6, 2010, as a way of encouraging others to start gardening and incorporate more fresh vegetables into their diets.

Lessons learned (what worked, what didn't work). 
How did this project impact the park, the participants? 
 
During this camp, the girls were introduced to many activities that they had never done before, including carpentry, welding, and gardening. The gardening activities were a particular challenge, as these are urban youth, many of whom had never gardened before or had much contact with soil, plants or even nature. Getting their hands dirty and working hard was challenging for them (“yuck, it stinks!”), but after initial resistance, they really enjoyed it and clearly many of them worked harder, physically, than they ever had before. Involving them in a series of activities that culminated in the growth of new plants gave them a new sense of ownership and agency around what they eat. The experience also connected the dots in learning about where their food comes from; for example, they were able to plant basil, smell its unique scent, and discover that is used to make pesto sauce, which many have eaten themselves!

The program is a great benefit to the park. It allows us to collaborate with numerous community partners; as a partnership park, we must work closely with our partners to help communicate the stories of our park, and our involvement in this program makes our commitment to the local community tangible. The Rosie’s Girls’ victory garden project helps the park make our historical message relevant to the youth of today by linking the experiences of the WWII home front to very current social needs related to public health and the environment. 
 
Challenges for this program are related to the urban community that the girls live in. Maintaining security at the site is difficult, and we continue to work with partners to make sure the area is secure so that the girls can continue to work, plant and harvest the fruits of their efforts.
 
Will this project continue after this year?

We are very pleased that this project will continue during an after-school program during the school year and will continue to be tended during the summer by the Rosie’s Girls participants. The Rosie’s Girls Garden Instructor, who is also an employee of the city of Richmond, will continue to oversee the project.

Sowing seeds

Sowing seeds

Transferring soil to the raised beds

Transferring soil to the raised beds

Our new tools have a home in a new shed

Our new tools have a home in a new shed

Rosie’s Girls in Session II plant veggie starts sown by Rosie’s Girls Session I

Rosie’s Girls in Session II plant veggie starts sown by Rosie’s Girls Session I

Installing drip irrigation

Installing drip irrigation

NPS Ranger Carla and Garden Instructor Lisa pose with Rosie’s Girls at the Rosie’s Girls Victory Garden – “We Did it!”

NPS Ranger Carla and Garden Instructor Lisa pose with Rosie’s Girls at the Rosie’s Girls Victory Garden – “We Did it!”


If you have any questions, please contact your nearest Regional Point of Contact, park sanitarian or call WASO Public Health for more information.


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