Erin Johnson Named Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award Winner by the Wylde Center and City of Decatur

TMS staffer, Erin Johnson, was honored for her volunteer efforts, including her work with the Winnona Park Elementary School Grounds Committee and The Museum School of Avondale Estates.

Published by JULIE HERRON CARSON for The Patch Decatur-Avondale Estates

Decatur resident Erin Johnson has been selected to receive the Wylde Center and City of Decatur’s 2016 Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award. Johnson was honored for her volunteer efforts with the Winnona Park Elementary School Grounds Committee, Trees Atlanta and the Field of Greens Festival. The award is named for Sally Wylde, who passed away in 2010 and whose family was honored with the first award. Other previous winners include Louise Jackson, co-founder of the Oakhurst Garden, Greg Levine for his work with Trees Atlanta, sustainability leader Frank Burdette and the Morse family, who donated the Decatur property now known as Woodlands Garden.

“Erin has served as the Chairman of the Winnona Park Elementary School PTA Farm to School/School Garden committee since 2013,” said Laura Pitts, who nominated Johnson for the award. “Over the years she has led numerous workday events with parents and has engaged students by coordinating garden planting and tasting events. This year, Erin planned and led an expansion of the school’s butterfly garden with students and parents, and also coordinated the beautification of an area of the school’s grounds where many families walk their children. Erin also heads the school gardens at The Museum School of Avondale Estates, planning year-round food production and learning opportunities and creating a student garden club. The community is lucky to reap the benefits of Erin’s caring and knowledgeable leadership that serves as a bridge between Farm to School and the teaching community.

“Erin Johnson’s extensive student-focused volunteer work exemplifies the Wylde Center’s mission of cultivating environmental stewards through education,” said Stephanie Van Parys, executive director of the Wylde Center. “She understands the value of connecting people and plants so that her students understand where their food comes from. She engages the children and their parents through fun, hands-on activities, and is always willing to get her hands dirty. I believe Erin is exactly the kind of Decatur leader the Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award was created to honor.”

About the Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award:

Established in 2010 by the Wylde Center and the City of Decatur, the Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award annually recognizes an individual or organization in Decatur making an extraordinary contribution to the community and its natural environment. The award is presented to those who demonstrate qualities held dear and embodied by Sally Wylde, an artist, environmentalist, activist, and educator whose work and life have inspired people of all ages to become better caretakers of the earth, of one another, and of themselves. The award acknowledges an exceptional and lasting positive impact with efforts through many venues, such as nonprofit and service organizations, public agencies, schools, institutions and faith communities.

About the Wylde Center

In 1997, an idea took root in the Oakhurst area of Decatur, Ga. Neighbors Sally Wylde and Louise Jackson envisioned a community garden where children could learn about the natural world and enjoy hands-on gardening activities. With the purchase of a half-acre of property at the corner of South McDonough St. and Oakview Road, the Oakhurst Community Garden was born. Today, supported by members, foundations, corporations and donors, the non-profit has been re-named the Wylde Center to honor its co-founder and to better encompass its expanded range of properties and programs. The Wylde Center oversees four distinctive greenspaces, directs a year-round educational program for all ages, hosts social events and directs the Decatur City Schools’ Farm to School Program. Staff and volunteers engage children, families and individuals in activities designed to develop creative skills in sustainable urban living, organic gardening, health and nutrition. Despite its robust growth, the Wylde Center has stayed true to its original mission of cultivating vibrant greenspaces for everyone to enjoy and inspiring communities of environmental stewards.www.wyldecenter.org.

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