In celebration of the official start of spring Allianz Garden Show Ireland is calling for schools to ‘spring into action’ as it launches its Schools Challenges for the 2016 event, which takes place in Antrim Castle Gardens from 6-8 May, 2016.

Reflecting the Show’s focus on 2016 Year of Food & Drink, Primary Schools are creating ‘Edible Container Gardens’ while Secondary Schools are designing and building gardens for display themed, ‘Eat Out, Chill Out!’. Meanwhile primary schools from the Integrated Sector are building scarecrows for Allianz Scarecrow Circle with a special category this year, the ‘Allotment Scarecrow’.

Damien O’Neill, Group Head of Marketing for title sponsor Allianz, commented,

“Every year we are hugely impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity of the many Schools who take part in the various challenges.  There is increased recognition as to the importance of outdoor learning and these initiatives provide a fun way of teaching children about the world around them whilst also encouraging them to get active in their own school gardens.”

The schools will be rewarded for the efforts with a range of prizes and experiences kindly donated by CAFRE Greenmount Campus, including trees for the overall winners in each of the three categories as well as a morning at CAFRE for all those who enter.

Also partnering up with the Schools Challenges this year is Jilly Dougan, the gardener behind some of the most impressive herb gardens in Northern Ireland and also author of inspirational new book “Sow Grow Munch”, which vows to connect children of all ages and their parents with the concept of food growing, food heritage, the importance of buying local produce and how to cook from scratch. Jilly will be rewarding each participating school with a prize as well as the overall winners of each category who will receive one to one session with Jilly and a generous amount of edible plants grown by Jilly.

Claire Faulkner, Director of Allianz Garden Show Ireland believes the Schools activity is a vital part of the Show,

“It brings such a sense of energy to the show to have so many school children involved in the different challenges. Our aim is to get young people interested and engaged in gardening and it is always rewarding to see how much they learn!”

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