University of Florida

2011 Florida School Garden Competition Winners

The School Garden Competition invites Florida elementary schools to highlight their school garden programs. A cash prize is given to the first-place winning school in each category.

Entire School Garden Category

Orlando Junior Academy studentFirst Place: Orlando Junior Academy, Orlando

"The Schoolyard Garden" is comprised of four themed areas: a vegetable garden, produce from which a local chef uses to prepare school meals; a pollinator garden where students observe wildlife, a Central Florida native garden with perennials and a fountain, as well as a small citrus "grove."

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Raised bed gardens at Oakcrest with scarecrowSecond Place: Oakcrest Elementary, Pensacola

Produce from the Oakcrest vegetable and flower garden is so plentiful that it is both sent home with students and used in the school cafeteria. Just one example on the garden's success: the number of students selecting broccoli in the cafeteria tripled in the time since the garden was established.

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Green beans from Pine Crest gardenThird Place: Pine Crest School, Boca Raton

The Pine Crest organic garden was started from seed, and beneficial insects ("Good Bugs") were instrumental in learning about pest management. Students participated in the release of 18,000 ladybugs, collect 20,000 gallons of rainwater, and learned how to make compost.

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Multiple Class Garden Category

garden map detailFirst Place: Avalon Elementary, Naples

The Avalon Elementary Global Garden is a working partnership with the Naples Botanical Garden. An after-school project, the garden involves third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders and has four themed sections: agriculture, tropical, arid, and wetlands.

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Master gardener helps students in raised bedSecond Place: Endeavour Elementary, Cocoa

The large butterfly garden involves pre-K, kindergarten, and third-graders, and includes what may be the only permanent butterfly habit on an elementary campus. It is a certified wildlife habitat and a three-time winner of Keep Brevard Beautiful's "Environmental Education Award."

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Blue Lakes students working in plant bedThird Place: Blue Lakes Elementary Gifted Program, Miami

The Blue Lakes butterfly and vegetable garden is tended to by students in the school's gifted program, and enjoyed by all students. It has been certified as a Florida-Friendly Landscape.

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Single Class Garden Category

East Marion students in pioneer gardenFirst Place: East Marion Elementary, Silver Springs

Sondra Clem's fifth grade class created a 1890s-era "Pioneer Kitchen Garden" on the museum grounds at Silver River State Park. Her students researched and chose plants that would have been in a Florida pioneer family's garden. The garden was also featured in the Ocali Country Days Festival, celebrated at the park.

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Lake Como student with produceSecond Place: Lake Como Elementary, Orlando

Alan Ellis' exceptional education class grew vegetables, expanding their garden this year in order to donate extra produce to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orlando. Working in the garden, students learn math, science, communication skills, and self-esteem.

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Mendenhall students in their gardenThird Place: Mendenhall Elementary, Tampa

Kimberly Long's third grade students grew vegetables and flowers in their garden, where they conducted science fair experiments, grew plants to attract butterflies, learned how weather is an important factor in farming, and more.

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