Florida Wildlife Federation is pleased to announce that Leesburg Elementary School in Leesburg, Florida, has been named as the winner in the third FWF statewide Kids Habitat Contest. A certificate award presentation ceremony was held in their gardens at an April 20, 2012 Earth Day celebration where FWF’s Vice-Chair, Dr. George Tanner, presented students with a framed award certificate, along with a stuffed toy barn owl and two nature themed books for the school’s library. The gardens were established under the leadership of the school’s Science/Math Enrichment teacher, Lesa Roe. The books were accepted by School Librarian, Julie Sligh. Students from grades 3, 4 and 5 contributed to the celebration by reading their own poems and essays about their experiences in the Gardens and love of nature.
The award was made to Leesburg Elementary in acknowledgement of the excellent educational and conservation value of the gardens which include a Butterfly Garden, a Bog Garden, a Pond Habitat, a Wildflower Garden, a Florida Woodland Native Habitat Garden, a Florida Native Wildlife Habitat and a Hydroponic Vegetable Garden. The diversity of these gardens provides habitat suitable for many native species of Florida wildlife. Interest in the establishment of wildlife habitats and knowledge of how to establish and care for one is being carried home and back into the community by students.
After the presentation ceremony, Dr. Tanner said "The Florida Wildlife Federation is very proud and appreciative of Leesburg Elementary School teacher, Lesa Roe, for her dedication to the conservation of Florida's natural resources and her guidance in developing this avocation in the minds and actions of the school's students. These young students have learned that conservation requires both planning and hard work to meet their goals. Their wildlife gardens will continue to provide perpetual educational stimuli for natural resource conservation.”
The contest was open to all backyard, schoolyard, business, or community habitats in Florida established by and tended by children 11 years old and younger. FWF promotes building places for Florida wildlife to find food and water, breed and raise their young as a way to lessen the harmful effects of development and diminishing natural habitat on our native creatures. FWF believes that education of young Floridians in ways to aid our wildlife is an effective method to help preserve our heritage of ordinary and unique-to-Florida species for future generations, and supports and promotes NWF’s Wildlife Habitat Certification program. This program guides and informs citizens in establishing habitats, and information about the program and a Florida-specific guide to achieving certification of habitats is available on FWF’s website, www.fwfonline.org