Week 5 in Region 18 | Fun with Bots and in the Garden!

Hello again! This week was jam-packed for Jake and I, but we loved every minute of it. We started things off in the Jasper county office, where we had some time to work on the designs and research for the Inspiration Garden. Jake was able to get to know a new program, RealTime Landscaping Architect. Right now, he’s still getting used to it but the things that he’s done so far look really promising! We’re hoping that with the new program he’ll be able to design sketches that can be used in the advertisement and promotion of this garden for years to come.

While he was busy inside, I was able to help Carol and some community members outside. They have been working on expanding their already-existing Donation Garden for awhile now, but realized the ground they want to work with wasn’t exactly flat. They were able to smooth it out and install some raised beds that were built by DMACC students. There was a donation of soil by a member of the community, and with plenty of help, that project is just awaiting some plants! I was also able to spend some time weeding the existing area with a few Master Gardeners. That night, we were able to go to a Newton City Council meeting with Carol, where we presented the ideas we had for the Inspiration Garden and what work we had done so far. Spreading the word and gaining support is essential to the success of the garden, and we really hope that the Council enjoyed the presentation.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in Marion County. Fun with Bots had a great turnout, with 10 participants in Knoxville (pictured above) and 13 in Pella (pictured below). Because there were quite a few signed up for the Pella camp we had Max, the summer intern for Marion County Extension and Outreach, help us out. We appreciate it more than he knows! Kids were able to learn about robots, why they are designed, how they work, and where engineers get their ideas for the robots. We were able to program and explore BeeBots and some special robots named Dash and Dot. Snack time was extra special, as we got to eat “Robot Snacks”. Bolts, nuts, washers, and miscellaneous metal pieces were on the menu. The photo shown doesn’t do much justice, but it was a mix of cereals, pretzels, and chocolate chips covered with edible silver glitter. By the time snack time was over with, we were all turning into robots with our fingers and lips colored silver.

While we didn’t have time nor the budget to create our own functioning robots(to the disappointment of a few kids), we were able to make our own play dough robots to bring home with us. We had so many creative ideas! All sorts of different shapes and abilities. There were robots that would pick up trash, make food, wash dishes, fly, babysit, act as body guards, and all sorts of other cool things.

Once the kids all went home and the camps were over with, Jake and I spent the rest of the week in Newton. We had a few meetings, but after that we were able to get back to planning and designing. Jake did a lot more work with his new program, and I was able to create a promotional brochure for the garden. While this more than likely isn’t the final design, I’m happy with how it turned out! We also did some planning for a kid’s day in the garden for next week, where they will be able to learn about plants and the importance of pollinators. All in all, week 5 was pretty great.

That’s all for this week, thanks for reading! -Kaylee

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