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“The TURTLE TEACHING CIRCLE is an exciting new learning space at the TYG. The Circle was inspired by Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Master Gardener and teacher with over 20 years’ experience speaking and writing about holistic health, edible and medicinal plants and author of “At the Garden’s Gate”, a guide to self discovery in growing a meadow garden.
With Judith’s guidance the circle was installed in the image of the Eastern Box Turtle. The 13 markings on the top of its shell were used by Native American ancestors to teach children about the 13 moons in a year and how survival of native tribes depended on the cycle of the seasons, the land, plants and animals. The 12 seats in the circle mark 12 compass directions and the colors, plants and animals associated with each. The center represents the 13th moon of the year. Plants associated with the four compass directions: east, west, north and south, are planted around an analemmatic sundial created by Jack Robinson, a TYG volunteer and avid sundial enthusiast. Google for more information about this unique sundial and how it is best suited to our location on the globe.

A Plant Fact Marker at each of the 12 seats help to broaden our awareness of species that are being over harvested, losing habitat and depleting plants that support a variety of wildlife.




Come and enjoy the quiet beauty of this new space and learn what you can do to help replenish plant species important to a sustainable environment.”

This project is a joy to work on and truly a dream come true. We sat in the circle, adults and children alike, and gave thanks. A blessing for all of us and the community as the Tolland Youth Garden borders a walking trail, includes protected meadow land, and houses a vegetable garden and colonial herb garden whose bounty is given to a local soup kitchen.  A teaching circle for orientation and community building skills is part of this dedicated area as well as a remembrance of ancient wisdom.


Many thanks to the adults who manage the garden and the young stewards!


Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. © all rights reserved. Including photos.


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