In an effort to educate community members about local flowers, crops and pollinators, one of the public service outreach interns at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia is developing a coloring book, the second in a series of Connect to Protect coloring books.
Suzie Henderson, who graduated from the University of Georgia last summer, developed the first coloring book last year through her internship with the botanical gardens.
After the first book was published, it had widespread success, even being integrated into an ecology conference.
“We actually had a big order for an ecology conference,” Henderson said. “They actually ordered a copy for every conference attendee.”
Henderson designed the coloring book to provide a way to teach people about local plants and pollinators.
“Part of the objective is to create educational material, so that’s how this happened,” Henderson said.
The coloring book is a part of the garden’s Connect to Protect program. Through creating a fun way for kids to learn about local plants and pollinators, the coloring book supports Connect to Protect’s objective of providing teaching materials for schools.
“The mission [of Connect to Protect] is basically to do plant and pollinator conservation one little garden at a time,” Henderson said. “So they have gardens at schools, they have gardens at small businesses … and to have one, you have to have a sign that goes with it. The main objectives are to support the native pollinators and provide the food and nesting sites.”
The project started in Athens, but gardens have also been developed in nearby schools and even out of state. There is currently also a garden in North Carolina, Henderson said.
The first coloring book also had the goal of informing the community about conservation programs.
“They were printed to be given away as outreach and education tools,” said Leah Moss, the public relations coordinator for the University of Georgia’s Public Service and Outreach program.
They were designed to support the botanical garden’s mission, which is to serve the state of Georgia through education and conservation and inspire interest and awareness of native plants and pollinators, Moss said.
The book was designed with both children and adults in mind, leading to a book filled with coloring pages across from detailed scientific information about the plants.
“It has the common and scientific name, so it’s kind of adaptable to a lot of different age groups. Even if you’re an adult you can get a lot out of it, but if you’re a kid, you might just like to color it,” Henderson said.
Henderson designed the drawings in the coloring book, but she had a lot of support from other interns. Paula Runyon, one of the other interns, developed the designs from drawings into an illustration that could be colored, a process called “vectorization,” which made the pictures easier to color.
Henderson was also assisted by Elijah Richardson, a work-study student, who colored the coloring key in the book, and Heather Alley, the conservation horticulturist, who edited the content of the book.
Henderson became an intern with the botanical gardens after applying for the public service and outreach scholars program. This program has a cohort of students who are stationed at different sites. Henderson’s top choice was to be stationed at the botanical gardens, she said.
The idea for the coloring book was originally planned as just a worksheet designed to get kids interested, Henderson said. It gradually developed into a full coloring book, after the head of research at the botanical garden realized that Henderson was a good artist, Henderson said.
After the response to the first coloring book, Henderson designed a second book, which she is very excited about.
“It’s going to be about why it’s important to preserve native plants … but it’ll also have a crop plant with each native plant that is pollinated by the same pollinator,” Henderson said.
The second book is scheduled to be published in early December, hopefully in time for the botanical garden’s open house on Dec. 2.