Book teaches nine principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping
Florida students can learn the nine principles of Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL) in a new book by two UF/IFAS Florida Master Gardener volunteers.
"Growing Up Florida-Friendly," written by Kim Pepitone Cottrell and illustrated by Evelyn Lavaughn Davis, is designed for grade-school children.
"There are not a lot of resources for children that speak to this topic on a friendly, easy to apply level," Cottrell said. "Evelyn, the book’s illustrator, took my idea and brought it to life. Readers will follow Flory, an orange blossom, on a journey with Russell and Harriet through the nine FFL principles."
The main characters emphasize the importance of learning early to keep Florida’s water clean and protect natural resources.
"From the get-go, it is important for kids to understand the connection to science when they talk about plants and gardening," said Cottrell. "We want to teach children from the beginning that they can make a positive impact on our environment, even when gardening in their own back yards."
Readers are asked to become an "FFL kid," which provides goals along the way. The overall mission is to let kids know they can play a role in saving the waterfront.
"All roads lead to the aquifer, and we have to protect our natural resources," Cottrell said. "Taking responsibility for behavior from the beginning forms good habits that children will carry into the future. Everything you do can have a positive or negative impact on our environment. This book helps kids see the positive outcomes they can have."
While many UF/IFAS Extension agents educate youth around the state on FFL principles, this is the first tool of its kind created exclusively for students.
"I loved creating the graphics," Davis said. "I am a substitute teacher and see the need for more Florida living education in our schools that can help children and their parents understand best practices."
The book provides an interactive opportunity between teachers and students or can be used as a stand-alone resource.
"I want children to understand the impact humans have on what makes Florida a beautiful state to live in," Davis said. "I hope outdoor experiences will inspire them to be good stewards of the land."
To order "Growing Up Florida-Friendly," visit http://ifasbooks.ifas.ufl.edu/.