Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
VENTURA FWO: With Help, Boy Finds he Really Does Loves Tomatoes
California-Nevada Offices , April 12, 2008
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Examples of sandwiches made at the GREEN scene festival: tomato face and cell phone. (USFWS Photo by K. Drexhage)
Examples of sandwiches made at the GREEN scene festival: tomato face and cell phone. (USFWS Photo by K. Drexhage) - Photo Credit: n/a
Visitors who created edible art at the sandwich table. (USFWS Photo by K. Drexhage)
Visitors who created edible art at the sandwich table. (USFWS Photo by K. Drexhage) - Photo Credit: n/a

Katherine Drexhage, Ventura FWO
Sometimes, connecting people with nature is as simple as introducing a child to where his food comes from.

A boy attending the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden’s recent GREEN scene event claimed he wouldn’t touch a tomato at home, but when he tasted a sandwich made with the help of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biologist Katie Drexhage, he became instantly enamored of the vegetable.

Drexhage, a biologist at the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, made the tomato a nose on a face constructed of healthy vegetables at the GREEN (Grow, Research, Eat Enjoy, and Nurture) scene event Saturday, April 12. The botanical garden is located on 150 acres in El Chorro Regional Park between San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay. The garden is devoted to displaying and studying plants and ecosystems of the five Mediterranean climate zones of the world. Volunteers made creative sandwiches for children as a way of encouraging them to eat vegetables.

“The boy said he’d never tasted a tomato,” said Drexhage, “but when he ate this one, he was won over. He just needed to see the vegetable in a more creative, fun way to find he liked it.”

Drexhage staffed a booth at the event which provided visitors with information about migratory birds, endangered species, as well as the importance of avoiding the introduction and spread of non-native species such as pampas grass and mussels.

The event featured many activities for young and old to enjoy: wonderful recipes were prepared (and sampled!) with culinary herbs that can be grown at home; there was a candle-making demonstration using environmentally friendly soy wax; children enjoyed making unique veggie sandwiches, and master gardeners were asked tough gardening questions as folks were preparing for the spring planting. “Gently-used” garden related books and new research-based publications were available for sale, and the botanical garden gift shop supplied several garden-related items.

Folks were able to tour the botanical garden’s new straw bale green building and surroundings. Several people finished their experience by packing a picnic lunch and enjoying it at the adjacent picnic and play area, and strolled through the Preview Garden to see what’s in bloom.

The one-acre Preview Garden, constructed with work by Cal Poly students, opened in 1997. It provides a place for monthly educational programs, school tours, lectures, demonstrations, the garden shop, and a variety of special activities for children.

The mission of the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden is to connect people and plants, display the diverse plant life of the Mediterranean climate zones of the world and to provide opportunities for education, recreation, conservation and research. Through its programs and facilities, the garden fosters an appreciation and understanding of the relationship between people and nature and encourages a sense of stewardship toward the natural environment.



Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov
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