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Contact: Dan Ng, 435.834.4740
LOCAL KIDS ENTER “FIRST BLOOM” NATIONWIDE GARDEN DESIGN CONTEST THROUGH BRYCE CANYON NATIONAL PARK AND THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
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 Escalante Future Scientists 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 and the education specialist at Bryce Canyon National Park 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.
“We have worked with these kids for an entire year on conservation, studying native plant species and learning about national parks,” said Park Ranger Dan Ng. “They worked to design a garden that incorporates those lessons with caring for plants, sustainable design, a sense of stewardship and most importantly, fun.”
“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.”
Our First Bloom group comes from Escalante Elementary. The native plant garden will be located next the Park’s visitor center. Our “First Bloomers” designed the garden using nine native plants that they gathered seeds from the park and planted in their school’s greenhouse. After carefully planting the seedlings in the garden, a trail will be constructed with benches and interpretive signage. Bryce Canyon National Park is known for its outstanding geologic formations in hues of red, pink, orange and yellow. Each year, 1.5 million visitors from all over the world come here to enjoy its unique scenery. Now they will be able to enjoy a native plant garden that will provide an educational resource and opportunity to learn about the native plants in the area. The best part of our design is the beautiful colors of native flowers from the bright red Utah Penstemon to the beautiful purple Silvery Lupine. This garden will add natural beauty to an already unforgettable setting.
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 Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon, famous for its worldly unique geology, consists of a series of horseshoe-shaped amphitheaters carved from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah. The erosional force of frost-wedging and the dissolving power of rainwater have shaped the colorful limestone rock of the Claron Formation into bizarre shapes including windows, fins, and spires called "hoodoos." The park is also home to the threatened Utah Prairie Dog, which numbers from 100-200 animals. At an elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level, the park’s clean air not only affords excellent visibility, but some of the darkest night sky viewing in the National Park Service.
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.