First Lady Michelle Obama visiting Riverside Elementary’s Fairchild Challenge school garden
in Miami, FL, November 2010
For Immediate Release
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Joins Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens Campaign
Coral Gables, FL, October 3, 2011—Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has joined the Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens campaign, an initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, aimed at engaging young people in educational programs to help prevent childhood obesity. According to the Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens campaign, an organization like Fairchild can help lead community efforts to fight childhood obesity by using interactive exhibits, outdoor spaces and programming that encourages families to eat healthy food and increase physical activity.
Fairchild is committed to promoting healthy living for both children and adults through its community outreach, educational programs and community events. Here are some examples of how Fairchild is leading this effort:
Through The Fairchild Challenge, a multidisciplinary, environmental education outreach program that engages over 100,000 Pre-K through twelfth grade public and private schoolchildren in Miami-Dade County, Fairchild works with more than 100 schools each year to build or restore their school garden. The school garden/habitat restoration challenge is an engaging and creative way for students to beautify their school and learn about the nutritional, physical, mental, intellectual and social benefits of a school garden. Furthermore, this challenge offers many possibilities across the curriculum for teachers to use the garden/habitat as an outdoor classroom.
Fairchild‘s community outreach program includes support for community gardens. Fairchild staff participates in training sessions year-round, using interactive displays and hands-on activities to engage a wide audience with diverse abilities and passions. The goal of this support is to foster an understanding between gardens and nutrition as well as encourage planting a sustainable, organic garden in their community.
Fairchild collaborates with several partner environmental organizations, non-profit groups and educational institutions across Miami-Dade. The following organizations represent some of our focal partnerships in the community, which Fairchild has worked to educate about the advantages of healthy, sustainable food choices and organic gardening.
- Belafonte Tacolcy Center, Liberty City
- Slow Foods Miami
- The Education Fund and the Collaborative Nutrition Initiative
- MDCPS Farm to School Program
- Urban Greenworks
- Environmental Education Providers of Miami-Dade
Teacher Professional Development Courses
The Education Department at Fairchild offers several professional development courses to teachers in Miami-Dade County. The classes focus on botany, ecology and South Florida natural history, and are designed to increase teachers‘ knowledge and understanding of the importance of plants, plant uses, and habitat conservation. Workshops are conducted using a combination of discussion and hands-on activities, and teachers are provided with materials, resources and curriculum activities to implement in their classrooms. Here are just a few examples of our classes:
- School Garden Workshop - A one-day workshop, offered bi-annually, for teachers creating school gardens. Teachers will learn the basics of planning, designing, and implementing a school garden, as well as how to integrate garden activities into the curriculum.
- Linking Food & The Environment –Through recent training workshops provided to Fairchild staff by the Center for Food & Environment, Columbia University Teachers College, this new workshop promotes national health goals for people to follow healthy diets and lead physically active lives. The workshop emphasizes the strong connection between gardens and nutrition and the connection between food, land, environment and people.
In the fall and spring Fairchild organizes the Edible Garden Festival and Food and Garden Festival—two wonderfully educational and engaging weekend festivals that celebrate fresh fruits and vegetables and the gardens they grow in. Through these two festivals, Fairchild offers the community a chance to discover the origins of food, the link between fresh, local food and healthy eating, how to grow a home garden and ideas for cooking a healthy meal. Visitors of all ages learn through lectures and interactive demonstrations, including a special culinary program just for kids as well as free yoga classes.
Encouraging students through programmed exploration, Fairchild’s summer camp is carefully designed to empower students with respect and knowledge for nature through art and science exploration as well as creatively teaching them about the food they eat and where it comes from. Students are engaged in fun, hand-on activities while they explore and expand their horizons. Programs include learning about organic crops, tasting and cooking with unusual tropical fruits, exploring plant seeds and discussing food chains.
About Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is dedicated to exploring, explaining and conserving the world of tropical plants. It is one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world and a recognized international leader in both Florida and international conservation. Fairchild has field programs in over 20 countries throughout the tropical world including the Indonesia, South America, the Caribbean, Africa and Southeast Asia. Fairchild’s palm and cycad collections are considered the greatest collections in the world and are nationally recognized by the American Public Gardens Association. Fairchild has the largest education program in a metropolitan area reaching more than 100,000 schoolchildren in 2011. Fairchild hosts popular events like the Chocolate, Mango, Orchid, Food and Garden, Ramble and Edible Garden Festivals, as well as an annual art exhibition, concerts, plant shows and sales, evening events and more. Fairchild is a not-for-profit organization with 45,000 members. Fairchild is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables, Florida, 33156. Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors, $12 for children 6-17 and free to children 5 and under and Fairchild members. Information at www.fairchildgarden.org and on Facebook and Twitter.