Summer camp is one of the best ways for kids to take advantage of summer break and enjoy the outdoors. They are able to connect with friends and nature in a whole new way.

R&S Landscaping, the region’s leading environmentally responsible landscaping firm, recognizes learning about the environment makes an even greater impact when children can interact with nature up close and personal. That’s why they recently held a “Native Plant Gardening” workshop at Ridgewood Summer Day Camp.

To teach students about the important role that native plants play in nature, Specialty Gardener Julie Watson captivated approximately 80 first and second-grade girls with an animated lesson about the vital role these plants play in the local environment and food chain to birds and insects such as butterflies.

“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 a healthy food chain and the role plants play within its structure,” said Robert Schucker, President of R&S Landscaping. “We used the example of the butterfly and its food source of the Purple Cone Flower (i.e. Echinacea) they potted during the workshop to show the relationship of food sources to wildlife.”

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

During the seminar, R&S Landscaping announced its “New Jersey Gardens Photo Contest” to encourage the girls to continue working in the garden. Through August 31, individuals can submit photographs snapped of gardens located in NJ for a chance to win the first place prize: $100 Kodak Gift Certificate. The second place winner will receive a pair of gardening books that detail perennial care and garden design.