Summer camp is one of the best ways for kids to get out of the house during summer break, allowing them to connect with friends and nature. Learning about the environment around them makes an even greater impact when they connect with nature – up close and personal.

To teach students about the threat invasive plants impose


on native species, R&S Landscaping held a “Native Plant Gardening” workshop on August 2 at Ridgewood Summer Day Camp. Assistant Project Manager Brittney Hunter captivated approximately 100 first- and second-grade girls with an animated lesson about what happens when non-native, invasive plants are allowed to grow above, around, and on top of native species.

“We had a lively group of campers attend our Native Plant Workshop, and we were able to give them a quick lesson on the importance of protecting native plants from invasives. We specifically talked about how invasive species crowd out native plants and the effects that will have on the wildlife that depend on native plants” said Robert Schucker, President of R&S Landscaping. “To demonstrate our point, we showed the girls examples of invasive plants that we were able to spot just a few yards away from their picnic tables. They were able to connect the lesson with plants they’d seen all summer long.”

Known for its extreme commitment to community greening, R&S Landscaping provided each camper with a native Lowbush Blueberry plant. To acquaint them with some good gardening practices, R&S helped each child plant their own blueberry plant in a small pot donated by Ridgewood Whole Foods.

During the seminar, R&S Landscaping announced its “Little Gardeners Summer Photo Contest” to encourage the girls to continue working in the garden. Through August 31, individuals can submit photographs snapped of children in the garden for a chance to win the first place prize: four free passes to Mountain Creek Water Park in Vernon, NJ. The second place winner will receive a pair of gardening books that detail perennial care and garden design.

Children should be between the ages of 0-12 who are actively learning, experiencing, or tending to a garden. Children do not have to be your own, but you do need to have the rights to the photo, and permission to use the child’s image.

Submissions should include the photographer’s name, town, a short story behind the picture, and a signed minor release form that can be found on the R&S website. They can be sent via e-mail to info@rscape.com.

All submissions will be posted on R&S Landscaping’s Facebook page, and members of the R&S team will select the best photograph. The winners will be announced in early September, and the winning photographs will be posted on the company’s website, www.rscape.com.