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Broward County certifies its first Ocean Friendly Garden

The Broward County chapter celebrated the first local certification of Surfrider Foundation's Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG) Program this past Earth Day in Deerfield Beach. 

Traditional landscaping contributes to stormwater pollution that flows to our coasts and pollutes the places we swim, surf, and enjoy. Ocean Friendly Gardens use nature-based solutions to slow the flow of rainwater and allow it to sink into the ground, restoring the functions of healthy, resilient watersheds. 

Ocean Friendly Gardens also support climate resiliency goals by sequestering carbon in deep-rooted native plants, preventing water pollution caused by chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and reducing climate emissions from energy-intensive maintenance practices.

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This amazing project was designed and built by local students and led by The Sea Lab Project,  an after-school program for youth through art, STEM Mentorship, ocean exploration, and creative maker labs, in collaboration with the City of Deerfield Beach, that helps engage local BIPOC communities. Awarded the Kids Garden Grant, the students set out to construct their garden at the Deerfield Community Teen Center, focused on pollinating plants and native species.

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Left: the Ocean Friendly Garden sign on display, Right: Students and their families celebrate the completion of the OFG project (Photo credit: Samien Glinton)

The project also includes a rain collection barrel and compost tumbler to capture rainwater and recycle food scraps into nutrient rich compost. The natural compost will substitute chemical fertilizers that can leech excess nutrients into local groundwater, protecting our waterways from pollution.

Programs like Ocean Friendly Gardens are a great tool to engage and educate people of all ages in underserved and urban communities about more natural growing practices, foster environmental stewardship, and create habitat for pollinators and wildlife for all to enjoy. We are so proud of the students and their hard work!

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Left: the compost tumbler will create nutrient-rich compost that can substitute polluting chemical fertilizers, Right: the rain barrel decorated by the students