"Planting pink" and encouraging healthy childhood eating habits has earned a group of Hilton Head Island residents recognition from the country's largest volunteer gardening organization.
The Avid Gardeners, a federated garden club on Hilton Head, recently won two national awards from the National Garden Clubs Inc.
The club received the first-place Pink Glove award for use of pink cultivars to promote breast cancer awareness. The Avid Gardeners created the "Plant It Pink Garden" at the entrance to Hilton Head Hospital in September 2010. Club members maintain the garden with help and donations from local businesses and nurseries.
"Everyone has someone they know that's been affected by breast cancer," said Sandy Stern, co-chairwoman of the Plant It Pink Garden. "We hope people look at the garden and see a celebration of life and a reminder for women to get tested and to continue the support to finding a cure."
Stern's sister recently finished treatment for breast cancer, and her husband is a cancer survivor.
The Avid Gardeners also received the Youth Horticulture Education award for outstanding children's garden project.
The club created the "Korosi Vegetable and Herb Education Garden" last year at Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts. Longtime Avid Gardener member Nadine Korosi worked with school staff and students to create and maintain four vegetable and herb beds in the school's courtyard.
The garden was the brainchild of physical education teacher Jackie Wheeler, who won a grant for the project. It was modeled after first lady Michelle Obama's White House vegetable garden and her campaign to promote healthy eating habits and combat childhood obesity.
Follow reporter Tom Barton at twitter.com/EyeOnHiltonHead.