April 7, 2016
Contact: Diane Hines or Patricia Pearson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (850) 656-7113
Kenwood K-8 Center School in Miami was the winner in the Florida Wildlife Federation's 7th
Annual Kids Wildlife Habitat Contest. FWF representative Phillip Rau presented the award on
Earth Day, April 22, to Second Grade teacher Ms. Fridel Pedrique, the school principal Mr. Rudy Rodriguez and to the students of the Second Grade. Phillip Rau is a media intern for Ms. Julia Yarbough, FWF Board of Directors.
Kenwood K-8 students, under the direction of teacher Fridel Pedrique, work in the butterfly garden which has all the necessary components for attracting and sustaining Florida's native and migratory butterflies. Ms. Pedrique was especially pleased that their garden was able to attract and keep proper conditions for the rare Atala butterfly. This butterfly requires a specific host plant, the native "coontie," which grows well in the garden.
Above: Principal, Mr Rudy Rodriguez, Phillippe Rau, who presented the award for FWF, and 2nd Grade Teacher, Fridel Pedrigue
Breeding and thriving in Kenwood's garden are also monarch butterflies, which have been the subject of much national attention. Their populations nationally have declined about 90 percent in recent years, causing great efforts among different environmental groups, as well as the federal government, to plant milkweeds for this migrant butterfly to use along its migration routes from Canada and the U.S. to Mexico. The monarch is the only butterfly to migrate long distances, as some birds do, and the monarch's only host plant is milkweed.
Kenwood's Butterfly Garden is also home to many other kinds of butterflies, such as the Polydamas Swallowtail, the Giant Swallowtail, the Gulf Fritillary and the Zebra Longwing, which is Florida's State Butterfly. The garden was established many years ago in honor of a student who passed away.
The statewide FWF Kids Wildlife Habitat Contest is open to all children in Florida 12 years old or younger who have helped to establish/maintain a place where food, water, cover, and a place to raise young is available for Florida's wildlife. The nature lessons that students acquire while working in the garden and observing the life cycles and habits of the garden's butterflies help them to appreciate all the kinds of wildlife that Floridians are privileged to have in such abundance.
Honorable Mentions were awarded to Palm Harbor Middle School in Palm Harbor and to Sleepy Hill Elementary School in Lakeland for their entries in the contest. Click Here to watch the video of the winning school.