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Albemarle Garden Club Sponsors Down by the Bog Children’s Festival


February 14, 2024

GCA grant facilitates nature-focused play in Charlottesville, VA

The second annual Down by the Bog Children’s Festival was held at the Booker T. Washington Park in Charlottesville, Virginia this past October. Thanks to a grant from the GCA Common Ground Collaborative program, the Albemarle Garden Club (AGC), along with community partners, sponsored a fun day offering several activities to promote nature play – a critical element for healthy social, physical, and mental development. Kids explored the wetland garden and discovered hidden stone frogs. They learned about the pollinator hotel, created leaf etchings, had a forest story time, played musical instruments, and created floral bouquets with flowers donated by AGC members. In addition to pop-up play stations, the activities were designed not only to be fun, but to specifically boost cognitive and social-emotional development of children in a natural setting. More than three hundred children enjoyed a carnival-like atmosphere where the focus was learning about Nature. 

While this community engagement event is relatively new for AGC, the commitment to the Booker T. Washington Park has been a signature civic project for more than twenty years. Originally, the park was donated to the city and designated as the segregated park. It continues to be a hub for the African American community. Today, club members work in the garden to remove invasive plants, plant natives, and improve the garden overall. Funding from GCA’s Partners for Plants has also been pivotal in rehabilitating this former landfill, now an historic park enjoyed by the local community.


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