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Do me this tiny favor, and I’ll be your friend forever.

November 11, 2010

If you squint, you can see the sundial whirligig.

I know elections are over, but I’m asking you to vote again.

I’m not asking you to make a fetus a person or restrain church Bingo or create an extraterrestrial affairs commission. I’m asking you to do something  incredibly reasonable.

Vote for REAL School Gardens’ 21st Century Outdoor Classroom to win Slate’s classroom design contest.

REAL School Gardens is a grassroots program that partners with elementary school communities to create learning gardens that raise hope, spark imaginations, and connect children with nature. Their mission is to bring experiential learning opportunities and daily access to nature to the children who need it most. In collaboration with educators, administrators, parents, and community members, they design, install, and sustain beautiful, dynamic outdoor classrooms—like the one I’m asking you to vote for!

Just go to REAL School Gardens design submission, scroll to the bottom of the page, enter the garbled words, and click “VOTE FOR THIS PROPOSAL.”

I do contract work for this northern Texas-based organization and helped them submit their contest entry, which has now been chosen as one of the 10 finalists. From my experience with REAL School Gardens and visits to their outdoor classrooms, I can testify that this organization is doing truly valuable work.

At one of their partner schools, the school building, for some reason, lies nearly entirely underground and has no windows. If it weren’t for the perennial beds, kid-friendly shade structure, and nature landscape mural in the school garden, you might mistake the building for a wartime bunker. Another of their partner schools sits across the street from a homeless shelter (where many of its students reside) and is literally sandwiched between roaring highways. Their school garden, with its blooming sunflowers and certified Monarch habitat, is an oasis of nature and outdoor learning opportunities.

I know this request isn’t directly related to being car-free, but pretty please, vote for REAL School Gardens!


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