The Mill Valley Children's Garden, which officially opened in 1991 after teachers, spearheaded by Susan Reynolds, staved off a proposal to pave over open space on the school's campus, is a nearly half-acre "outdoor classroom laboratory" for Edna Maguire's more than 600 students. Garden supporters are hosting the annual Garden Faire on May 1, 12-4pm, to allow the garden to continue to be an essential part of Edna Maguire's curriculum.
"It's like having a living textbook," says Lee Budish, a former active Edna Maguire parent who is widely credited as one of the people who helped transform the Mill Valley Children's Garden into what it is today. "Since 1990, kids at Edna Maguire haven't just had to read about plants, fruits, vegetables and nature in a textbook. You cannot connect with a book the way you do with the land, and the Children's Garden is so vitally important."
Budish worked closely in the mid-2000s with then-Principal Lisa Zimmer to reinvigorate the Children's Garden, raising money for garden beds, equipment and, eventually, the funding for a garden teacher. Outdoor Educator Kristy Studnicki, teaches children botany, ecology, math, language arts, nutrition and cooking, stewardship of the land, community service, and much more.
The Garden Faire is a multi-faceted event, featuring the Edna Maguire Bake-Off, with a panel of celebrity judges choosing the winners, who will score prizes, such as a gift certificate from Vasco Restaurant. It also includes the ever-popular pie-eating contest, with an adult competition and a kids competition (13 and under).
In addition, since the faire takes place on May Day, it will feature a Maypole dance. "Garden fairies" will be on hand to help guests enjoy favorite crafts and games, such as fairy house building, creating potions, wreath making, hunting for golden eggs, nibbling on donut trees and bobbing for apples. Other activities will include face painting, hair extensions, and henna tattoos. DJ Jason will fill the garden with toe-tapping music while an array of eateries will serve up fresh, delicious local food.
The 411: The Garden Faire at Edna Maguire Elementary School is Sunday, May 1, from 12 to 4 p.m. Parking and admission for the annual fundraiser for the Mill Valley Children’s Garden are free. Tickets for activities and food can be purchased at the event, credit cards accepted – 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Mill Valley Children’s Garden. For festival information, visit ednamaguire.org. Volunteers needed!