• Jun. 13 2011
  • Naples Contributor

Local Elementary School Wins Award For Community Garden Project

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Naples Botanical Garden's Partnership with Avalon Elementary Earns School Bragging Rights

NAPLES, FL - June 13, 2011 - Led by experts and leaders from Naples Botanical Garden and Avalon Elementary School, supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, and designed for students’ education and enjoyment, the Global Garden project at Avalon Elementary was awarded first place in the Multiple Class Garden category for this year’s University of Florida (UF) Environmental Horticulture Department’s School Garden Competition.

The USF Environmental Horticulture Department in cooperation with the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival and the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs designed the School Garden Competition to encourage the use of school gardens in elementary schools throughout Florida. The award program also gives teachers the opportunity to gain recognition for their school gardens as well as win funds to help support them. Schools are judged in three categories: education relevance, level of involvement and garden quality. Avalon Elementary scored high in every category including teaching sustainable gardening, forming the Global Garden Club and using the harvested garden materials.

“The Global Garden is an extraordinary place that serves as not only a living and breathing classroom, but that holds the footprints of former students, mentors and supporters of its vision,” said Patricia Thorsen, a teacher at Avalon Elementary. “The garden has provided an education that is priceless to the students and families of this community. 

In the fall of 2002, Naples Botanical Garden partnered with Avalon Elementary, Windstar Audubon Committee, and the East Naples community on the beginning stages of the Global Garden. The purpose of the program was to improve student performance while also encouraging family and community involvement, which over the last nine years it has accomplished and expanded upon.

“This award is an honor for all the past and present students who have contributed to the Global Garden,” said Chad Washburn, director of education and conservation at Naples Botanical Garden.  “For these local students to receive an award at the State level shows that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.”

Students celebrated the award with an ice-cream celebration on Friday, May 27, 2011, held at Avalon Elementary, which included screenings of the submitted video and a great deal of reminiscing with teachers, mentors and volunteers.

For more information visit Naples Botanical Garden online www.naplesgarden.org or call 239-643-7275.

About Naples Botanical Garden

Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre world-class garden paradise that features the plants and cultures of the tropics and subtropics between the latitudes of 26 degrees North and 26 degrees South including Brazil, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Florida. A hands-on interactive Children’s Garden along with 90 acres of beautifully restored natural habitats, walking trails and a Butterfly Garden offer educational entertainment and enjoyment for people of all ages. Founded in 1993, the Garden re-opened to the public in November 2009 after an extensive expansion. Regular hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. every day.

Visit our website for more information www.naplesgarden.org.

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