A postage-stamp sized plot on the Miami-Dade Community College campus in Florida has been converted from a dull carpet of St. Augustine grass to a delightful garden oasis, filled with native plants and enjoyed by thousands of students and visitors –as well as by birds and insects. Joy of Natives is just one of the projects which received a cash award from the 2001 Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Fund.
The 36-foot by 21-foot area is bordered by walkways. Located alongside the Environmental Demonstration building, it is adjacent to the classrooms and work areas used by children who attend various day camps on the campus. In other words, a perfect location for the young workers who prepared and planted the plot and will continue to maintain it.
According to the project report, the project is a resounding success. “Thanks to the grant from the Seeds for Education Project, we were able to take an unused plot of land and turn it into an educational project for elementary and middle-school children; a resource for the college’s Landscape Technology Department; an example of Florida horticulture for the community, students, and visitors; and a restful retreat for those seeking to escape from the stresses of everyday life.”
In addition, the Seeds for Education project has allowed the Environmental Center to strengthen an already existing partnership with the college’s Landscape Technology Department. As a result of this project, the Environmental Center has taken the lead in developing landscape design for the small South Florida yard.
The campers planted trees, shrubs, plants, and trees.
They used computers and other resources to learn
about the importance of creating wildlife habitats
and are continuing to work with naturalists to
record their observations about the plants.
Like all successful Seeds for Education projects, the Miami-Dade Community College site will receive a Wild Ones yard sign to show that at least one spot on campus is “truly in harmony with nature.”
This article appeared in the March/April 2002 issue of the Wild Ones Journal.