For seven years, Sowing Seeds has introduced young students in Eagle County to the world of gardening, healthy eating and environmental stewardship. Stem by stem, leaf by leaf, hundreds of children have learned a valuable lesson: that time, patience, and constant care create amazing results.
Since its inception, Sowing Seeds has been owned and managed by the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365. It was originally conceived by, and has since been strongly supported by, celebrity chef Kelly Liken. Today the Vail Valley Foundation announced that the program will transfer to a new home with Walking Mountains Science Center.
“Sowing Seeds is a program which operates during the school day, whereas the focus of YouthPower365 is in extended learning after school and in summer. Although the Sowing Seeds program is exceptional, we felt transferring it to Walking Mountains better aligns with their mission then ours, and allows us to remain focused on the needed growth and powerful results of PwrUp, PwrHrs and PwrOn initiatives,” said Mike Imhof, president and CEO of the Vail Valley Foundation. “It is an excellent example of two non-profits working collaboratively together to ensure the best opportunities and outcomes for the young people of Eagle County.”
The program integrates seamlessly with Walking Mountains’ mission and goals, said Markian Feduschak, president of Walking Mountains.
“Sowing Seeds is the ideal way to introduce young people to the inner workings of natural science,” Feduschak said. “Young people naturally gravitate towards plants and soil, and by nurturing that instinct and structuring the experience, our kids in Eagle County are coming away with the foundational knowledge that will create our next generation of great gardeners, botanists, biologists and most importantly, environmental stewards. Hats off to the Vail Valley Foundation’s YouthPower365 for initiating and growing this fantastic program.”
The transfer of the Sowing Seeds program becomes official today, but YouthPower365 Executive Director Melisa Rewold-Thuon said the two organizations have already begun collaborating to ensure a successful transition. Sowing Seeds program coordinator, Shawna Wood, will also be joining the Walking Mountains’ team to continue running the program.
“The focus of YouthPower365’s programming is in extended learning time – afterschool and summertime, which is when our youth are at greatest risk,” Rewold-Thuon said. “This program is a perfect fit for Walking Mountains’ programming, and their areas of expertise and knowledge.”
YouthPower365 has more than 5,400 enrollments in its three main program branches: PwrUp provides programming for early childhood education; PwrHrs provides afterschool and summer school care for thousands of young people each year from every public school in the valley; and PwrOn provides career-and-college readiness for high-school aged young people and beyond, including Dollars for Scholars scholarships.
“This collaborative transition is an excellent example of how non-profits can work together to fulfill their missions, and I think all of us will benefit from it – most of all the children of our valley,” Feduschak said.
The Vail Valley Foundation's YouthPower365 (formerly known as the Youth Foundation) has a vision to allow every child in Eagle County access to academic improvement. The organization elevates educational experience in Eagle County by providing art, athletic, and academic opportunities that empower children, families, and teachers in the Vail Valley. YouthPower365 provides more than 4,000 local children with early childhood, K-12, and scholarship programs that aspire to create success for every child. Visit www.youthpower365.com to learn more.
About Walking Mountain Science Center:
Walking Mountain Science Center provide locals and visitors from pre-k to gray with opportunities to explore nature, gain a scientific understanding, and learn about the many wonders of our mountain environment through natural science and sustainability programs. We invite you to come explore your curious nature with us! Visit www.walkingmountains.org to learn more.