High school students will build a new amphitheater for the Ohana Kuleana Community Garden in June thanks to a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.
The $25,200 grant announced in December will pay high school students to work for the Southwestern Conservation Corps this summer and build the amphitheater and a school garden at Manaugh Elementary School in Cortez.
The Ohana Kuleana garden, on East 30th Street, is run by the Garden Project of Southwest Colorado, which hosts a free workshop series at the garden every summer, and the amphitheater will provide space for these events, said Sandhya Tillotson, executive director of the nonprofit.
The students are going to build terraced seating into a berm on the northwest corner of the garden.
Now that the labor is funded, the Garden Project will donate timbers and stone to build it, Tillotson said.
However, the nonprofit does have funding for its education series this summer, which will focus on soil and water conservation, she said.
Work on gardens and other agriculture projects have been popular with students who work for a month with the Southwestern Conservation Corps, Regional Director Kevin Heiner said.
“There is just a huge resurgence in interest in gardening,” he said. The students all sign up to work specifically on these projects.
The funding for these projects is part of a specific initiative by Great Outdoors Colorado to fund the nine youth corps in Colorado, and this money has helped rebuild the Southwestern Conservation Corps’ high school programs, Heiner said.
These programs declined during the Great Recession and after some federal grants were cut.
Many of the students who participate in the corps leave with an interest in natural resource management, forestry and recreation administration, Heiner said.