Devonian Botanic Garden wins environmental award

(Edmonton) The University of Alberta's Devonian Botanic Garden has been selected as the recipient of a 2013 Alberta Emerald Award for excellence in environmental education.

“Giving children reflective and playful time in the outdoors allows them to form a greater bond with the natural world, and helps develop the environmental stewards of the future,” said Emma Gilbertson, the garden’s education co-ordinator. Since the garden introduced the Kids in the Garden field trip program in the 1980s, more than 90,000 schoolchildren from kindergarten to Grade 12 have taken part, engaging with the natural world in an outdoor, hands-on, curriculum-connected experience.

During a Kids in the Garden field trip, schoolchildren might catch a frog in a pond, follow animal tracks, learn about the life cycles of a butterfly, and identify and hug trees.

In the garden’s Green School program, children spend a full week immersed in nature with the outdoors as a classroom.

Along with Gilbertson, the award recipients were Deb Greiner, Green School co-ordinator, and Antonella Bell, who started the Green School program.

The Emerald Awards recognize environmental initiatives undertaken by youth, educators, corporations, individuals, not-for-profit associations, community groups and governments.

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2013 Recipient: Green School & Kids in the Garden