Above: Captain Ned Stone, At-Large Director for Florida Wildlife Federation, presents the award for 1st place in the FWF 8th Annual Kids' Wildlife Habitat Contest to an assembly of students, parents, and guests

  The Championship Academy of Distinction Charter School in Pembroke Pines, Florida was the winner in the Florida Wildlife Federation's 8th Annual Kids Wildlife Habitat Contest. FWF representative Captain Ned Stone presented the award on Friday, April 21, 2017, to Third Grade teacher Mrs. Jany Moline and her group of students who are responsible for the creation and continuing care of the habitat. The school principal is Ms. Paulina Reyna.  

  Mrs. Moline and her class, working with other teachers, parents, School Administration, and with PTO financial support, have accomplished the building of a habitat that all can enjoy. 

Students brought rocks and planting pots and stepping stones from home, created birdhouses and birdfeeders at home to bring to school and place in the habitat. The habitat was deliberately planned and built near the school's front entryway so all students and teachers can enjoy seeing native birds and butterflies there every day.  The garden has all the necessary components for attracting and sustaining Florida's native and migratory birds and butterflies and is also used as an outdoor classroom for other subjects, giving students what must be a welcomed break from being closed up indoors.  According to medical experts, lack of fresh air and outdoor activities contributes to many physical problems that plague today's children. Nature lessons that students acquire while working in the garden and observing the life cycles and behavior of the garden's birds and butterflies help them to appreciate our state's wildlife. Bird feeders, birdbaths, and furnishings are painted and decorated in bright, fresh primary colors and patterns, making the garden a cheerful place for both students and teachers. The display of artwork, and evidence of student-acquired building and decorating skills adds another dimension to the lessons in gardening and nature that take place in the habitat, adding to the development of the whole, well-rounded child.

  Continuing her enthusiasm and interest in sharing the benefits of Championship Academy's habitat, Mrs. Moline planned a "Garden Party" for all who had contributed to the creation of the habitat, complete with printed invitations, showcasing the school's two dancing and baton twirling groups, the Dancing Dolls and the Titanettes.  This party was planned to feature the presentation by Captain Ned Stone, a member of the Board of Directors of FWF, of the award for winning the 8th Annual Florida Wildlife Federation's Kids' Wildlife Habitat Contest. Captain Stone also brought the school several gifts and some books to be placed in the school library.  Captain Stone spoke briefly to the children, thanking them for their efforts to support Florida's wildlife, and telling them how important it is to make those efforts. The party and celebration was also attended by District 6 Vice Mayor, Mr. Beam Furr, the Director of Charter School Management, Ms. Jody Perry, the President of Charter School Solution, LLC, Ms. Cyndi Dotson, the CEO of Championship Academy of Distinction, Mr. Gustavo Prats, PTO President, Ms. Antonia Magloire, and Championship Academy Board Member, Mrs. Melissa Buscamente.    
  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 garden where food, water, cover, and a place to raise young is made available for Florida's wildlife, and where practices are used that improve the site itself such as water and soil conservation and avoidance of chemical fertilizers/pesticides.  

Honorable Mentions were awarded to Ridgecrest Elementary School in Largo, and to J. H. Workman Middle School in Pensacola for their entries in the contest. 

Above: Mrs. Jany Moline, the teacher who developed the Schoolyard Habitat with her class