Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Education: An Investment in the Future

Today's world is a fast-paced and ever-changing one in which information flies at us from a myriad of media at all hours of the day. Balance, serenity and know-how are musts to survive and succeed in this atmosphere. The old adage "knowledge is power" is even more relevant now than it has ever been. For this reason, and many others, we're very proud of the work we do here at The Gardens. Education is our mission, but it's more than just something we put on a website or a plaque, it's a lifestyle for us. You can help us continue this tradition in several ways such as making a donation, giving a gift membership, or volunteering your time and talent.

Consider that Discovery Field Trips help impart knowledge on schoolchildren from kindergarten through 6th grades, led by our education team's loyal volunteer docents. These fun adventures aren't just an escape from the schoolhouse. Discovery Field Trips are based on National Science Education Standards and Alabama Course of Study, and truly bring the classroom to life. For example, one one of the six field trip options, children learn about Dr. George Washington Carver's life and contributions to science and agriculture. The nitrogen cycle is no longer something in a text book, but rather is animated when kids harvest peanuts, sweet potatoes and cotton. More than 10,000 schoolchildren get a head start on critical science education, laying the foundation for future generations of scientists, activists, botanists, doctors and inventors.

Discovery Field Trips is just the tip of the educational iceberg here at The Gardens. Don't forget about Horticultural Therapy, which helps mentally, physically or emotionally disadvantaged clients from age four to 98 learn crucial life skills, using plants and gardening as a therapeutic and instructional tool. Our classes offer opportunities to learn just everything from botanical history to floral design and cooking to crafts. HollyDay Magic teaches children ways to make gifts, ornaments and decorations using natural materials.

The list goes on and on with other ways we seek to give the most valuable gift there is, the gift of knowledge, to children and adults across the region. And for those already in the know, we strive to inspire them to give back by volunteering as a field trip docent, or a horticultural therapy aid, or a Library assistant, or a class instructor or in any way they can.

This holiday season, we'd like to share our gratitude to all those who make it possible for us to "walk the walk" and not just "talk the talk." Thank you for investing in the future of Birmingham by helping us bring educational experiences to life. We will all be rewarded as a new generation of knowledgeable leaders use their new-found power to make and impact on our community and our environment for years to come.

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