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Published:May 19th, 2008 12:30 EST

Judyth Piazza chats with Barbara Kurland, Brooklyn Botanic Garden

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

BARBARA KUSHNER KURLAND is the School Programs Manager in the Children`s Education Department at BBG. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College and a M.A. from Lehman College, CUNY, both in Biology. She taught middle and high school science in the New York City public schools before coming to BBG where she has been teaching and learning about plants with children, youth, and adults since 1989.

The Brooklyn Botanic Garden presents its first-ever All-Region Guide for kids, Gardening With Children.

BBG has been recognized as the nation`s foremost authority on gardening education for children. According to Sharon Myrie, vice president of Education at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, "For nearly 95 years, BBG has earned its reputation for offering groundbreaking, successful children`s gardening programs. Through our hands-on projects, we are encouraging children to be active participants in the full cycle of nature, from planting seeds to harvesting their crops. As awareness of the fragility of our environment increases, it is important to teach our children to be good stewards of the land and to foster a true love of gardening."

Authored by members of BBG`s expert Children`s Education staff, Gardening With Children is designed to awaken a child`s sense of wonder about the natural world while nourishing cognitive functioning and self-confidence. The book explores basic ecological concepts through more than 40 thought-provoking, hands-on activities. The creative projects are geared for 6- to 10-year-old children who garden or explore along with an adult caregiver; older children will be able to enjoy the book independently. And with easy-to-understand text, original color illustrations on every page, and a larger format that allows the book to stay open while working through activities, Gardening With Children is a cheerful and engaging picture book.

Children and their caregivers will find the easy step-by-step instructions for the activities fun and fascinating "in every season. For example, the activity Plants Make Food "Plants Are Food demonstrates how plants make their own fuel and how they serve as food for people and other animals: "Humans eat all kinds of plants "in fact, when you eat cereal, you`re really eating grass! Be a supermarket detective. On your next trip to the supermarket, take along a pencil and a pad of paper. Find the ingredients list on the side of each box of your favorite cereals. What is the first ingredient listed?"

In Photosynthesis "To Make With Light, kids learn how plants follow a recipe combining two major ingredients, water and carbon dioxide, to produce an energy-rich product "sugar! And they learn to make pretty Chlorophyll Prints using a leaf, a bit of fabric, and a spoon. Children can also take a Nighttime Safari, make a Garden Puppet Show, or learn to make a Garden Herbarium.

Gardening With Children is an exceptional tool to encourage kids to read and use the information they absorb in any of the scores of fun projects featured throughout the book. Whether readers have access to a large green yard or a simple windowsill planter, Gardening With Children invites adults and children to share the joy of watching plants, and the animals that live among them, grow and flourish.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden handbooks have been published continuously since 1945. They are the only series of popular gardening books published by a botanic garden in North America. Written by top gardening experts and packed with spectacular color photos and illustrations, All-Region Guides offer 120 pages full of ideas on how to make your garden beautiful, bountiful, and ecologically sensible.

http://www.bbg.org/