Celebrating the Green Thumb Festival

04/29/09 Andrea Lypka
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The 23rd Green Thumb Festival free Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration was held in Walter Fuller Park on April 25 and 26. In its 23 year, the free family festival featured 140 exhibitors and vendors, including plant diagnostic clinic, horticultural and environmental exhibits, programs and seminars highlighting ways to landscape effectively, conserve natural resources, recycle and improve the environment.

Children's events on the stage and at the Community Center included: Hands on Planet Earth, Wonders of Nature, Recycle Fun, and the three new Mad Science programs: Spin, Pop, Boom, Mini Eco-Systems and Defying Gravity.

Council member Jamie Bennett received the prestigious Tree City USA Award. Bennett said that the city reduced its carbon footprint and they started to integrate solar panels in parks, including the Alfred Whitted Park. The Bicycle Pedestrian Master Plan is another program the city is working on that will connect the entire Pinellas County with a trail.

Each year, the festival organizers nominate the prestigious Green Thumb Award to one adult and one child for their superior volunteer service to the environment.

Mary Ellen Warner from the St. Petersburg Garden Club helped students at the Bauder Elementary School in Seminole in the butterfly wildlife garden project.

Students Alex Ward and Tim Batham received the Green Thumb Awards this year. The organizers also awarded Greg Charles the Green Thumb Award. Charles, a teacher at Pinellas Technical Education Center, initiated the festival.

Inside the Walter Fuller Community Center, the Garden Club of St. Petersburg featured "Once Upon a Time in a Garden,” a standard flower show presented by the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs - District VIII.

The Green Thumb Festival is sponsored by the city of St. Petersburg, the Garden Club of St. Petersburg, the St. Petersburg Times, Valpak.com, Pinellas County Extension Service, Pinellas Technical Education Center, Landscape Maintenance Association and the Florida Nursery, Growers and Landscape Association.

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