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Sacred Heart Schools teacher honored by Garden Club of America for environmental education

by Contributed Content on May 22, 2013

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Dr. Stewart Slafter, history and garden teacher at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton, recently received the Elizabeth Abernathy Hull Award from The Garden Club of America. Established in 1992, the award annually recognizes the outstanding achievements of individuals furthering the early environmental education of children by inspiring them to appreciate the beauty and fragility of our planet.  A prize of $1,000 was awarded to Dr. Slafter.

Dr. Slafter was nominated by Anne Westerfield, and the award was presented by Lennie Gotcher and Nettie Ramsay, all of whom are members of the Hillsborough Garden Club, Zone XII.

“I am honored and humbled to have received this award,” said Dr. Slafter. “I am truly inspired by the Sacred Heart’s founding Sisters’ principles of being responsible for creation and to be stewards of the earth’s resources. Teaching our children to respect and protect the environment is an integral part of our campus’ sustainability curriculum.”

The campus at Sacred Heart Schools features 10,000-square-feet of organic gardens and a farm with animals. Students assist in the daily care and maintenance of the gardens and animals that include chickens, turkeys, rabbits and goats. Sacred Heart is the only school along the Peninsula that has been certified by the San Mateo Department of Health to use the produce grown on its campus in the Schools’ two cafeterias. In addition, produce harvested from the garden is shared with the school community, Oakwood Retirement Center, and several community food outreach programs.

“Dr. Slafter is not only planting seeds in our gardens,” commented Head of Schools Richard A. Dioli, “but he is also planting the seeds of knowledge and community outreach that inspire youth not only to protect the land, but also to nourish themselves as well as the community around them.  We are proud of Dr. Slafter and his commitment to educating students about the preservation of the environment for their future.”

Photo caption information provided by SHS: Front row (l to r): Nettie Ramsay, Lennie Gotcher, Dr. Stewart Slafter.  Back row (l to r): Dr. James B. Everitt (principal, Sacred Heart Preparatory), Richard A. Dioli (Director of Schools).

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