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Local Kids Enter "First Bloom" Nationwide Garden Design Contest Through Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the National Park Foundation

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Date: May 14, 2010

Online Voting Open Through May 28 at  www.first-bloom.org

The First Bloom Group with Winning Design Will Win an Overnight Trip to a National Park

WASHINGTON, DC (April 26, 2010) – Local youth from the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City are competing in the National Park Foundation’s First Bloom garden design contest.  First Bloom gives 4th- 6th grade youth around the country firsthand experience in national parks.  Park rangers at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore have worked with the youth all year, teaching important conservation lessons including the difference between native and invasive plant species.   Now, through May 28, 2010, the public is invited to vote on garden designs, the First Bloom group with the most votes will win a free trip to a national park.

“These students have worked on the project for an entire year. They have studied conservation, national parks and native plant species,” said national lakeshore park ranger and instructor Ted Winterfeld.  “They designed a garden that incorporates those lessons with the knowledge they gained during their one of their visits to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to a native garden site on Kemil Road in the park.”

“All you have to do is take one look at these garden designs, and you can see the thought and care that our First Bloom kids put into these,” said Neil Mulholland, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation.  “That excitement will grow into a lifelong connection to the national parks.”

The local First Bloom Members are from all three of the Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City sites. During the program, they had several visits to the park including an all day tour of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, an afternoon at Chellberg Farm learning how sap flows in maple trees and removing invasive plants near the new native garden site at Kemil Road parking lot. On May 22, 2010, members will be planting the native garden.

To participate in the online voting, and to view a gallery of the First Bloom garden designs, please visit
www.first-bloom.org.

First Bloom youth taking part in the contest were encouraged to be creative in both their design, and the presentations of their designs – which ranged from drawings to models made of clay, and – in one case – cookies.

The garden design contest is the culmination of a year of project work for the First Bloom students in partnership with their local national parks, where they have learned important lessons about stewardship and conservation.  The nationwide program is currently taking place in 26 national parks in partnership with 31 youth groups across the country.   To learn more about the First Bloom program, visit www.first-bloom.org.

About Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is one of 392 units of the National Park System ranging from Yellowstone to the Statue of Liberty.  Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore includes 15 miles of the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan and 15,000 acres of beach, woods, marshes, and prairie in the northwest corner of Indiana.  More than 2 million visitors come to this national park each year.  More information can be found at www.nps.gov/INDU.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
You are the part-owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured landscapes, ecosystems, and historical sites -- all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks.  Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks.  We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to help connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.   Join us – This is Your Land.  www.nationalparks.org

FACEBOOK http://www.facebook.com/nationalpark
TWITTER http://twitter.com/goparks

Did You Know?

picture of visitors asking a park ranger a question over a counter

On November 29, 2006, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, dedicated the new Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center. The facility is be shared with the Porter County Visitor Convention, Recreation, and Visitor Commission. More...