Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sheldon calls the children’s attention to the bird activity at the same feeders the kids filled with birdseed the previous week.

Shhh!…slowly…slowly creeping closer to the feeders as to not scare the birds away.

Good Morning Birds! The children practiced being still and quiet  while observing nature. We learned that most birds have a favorite type of seed they prefer to eat.

These girls returned to water the Sunflower seeds they had planted the previous week.

After watering the garden, it’s up to the pavilion for the next activity.

‘What does an explorer do?’, Farmer Sheldon asks. The children replied, ‘looks for things’, ‘use their senses’, ‘experiments’, and ‘discovers things’. Farmer Sheldon encourages them to use their senses to help find matches for all of these items on a scavenger hunt.

Let the gardening games begin! Working in small groups , the children have one bucket full of the items they are trying to find matches for and another empty bucket to gather the natural treasures they find. Fruit from a Pear tree, a Gingko leaf, a stem of Rosemary, the bark from a River Birch tree, acorns, and a Magnolia leaf, inspire the children to explore the garden.
‘I spy with my little eye, a leaf that is green on one side and brown on the other!’ The girls discover one of their items and learn to identify it as a Magnolia leaf.

A Gingko leaf found on the scavenger hunt. ‘Did you know a Gingko tree is one of the oldest trees? They have found many fossils of this tree indicating the Gingko and the Dinosaurs lived together.”


Farmer Sheldon welcomed the children to Wonderland Garden by sharing the story about how he became a farmer then offered an introduction to the history and goals of the garden. 
“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature.  Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually  into sustainable patterns of living.” Zenobia Barlow

The children learn the walking paths are made from 6,000 recycled tires that were saved from being placed in a landfill. The garden benches are made from recycled plastic bags and milk jugs. The stacked stone walls have been built out of 100,000 lbs. of county sidewalks that were dug up. Sheldon impresses the children with the need to reuse, reduce and recycle.

When asked, ‘What kind of birds can you name?’, the children were able to offer many examples from Robins and Bluebirds to Eagles, the Phoenix and Georgia’s own state bird, the Brown Thrasher. Everyone helped fill the bird feeders while becoming familiar with the great variety of shapes, colors, and textures of the birdseed. We all learned how important it is to be good stewards toward the other creatures living in our environment.

After filling some of the bird feeders with sunflower seed, Sheldon brought some sunflower heads from the past season to show the children just where sunflower seeds come from. The children each plucked several seeds from the flower head then got busy planting them in the garden.

Sunflower seeds ready to be planted.”If I were a flower…I would be a sunflower, To always follow the sun, Turn my back to darkness, Stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds.” Pam Stewart

The children put so much thoughtful attention into this planting activity. Even though it was the first time for many of these kiddos to plant seeds they did not hesitate digging into the soil to find the perfect spot.

After a lesson about  how a seed needs moisture to germinate and how roots absorb water to make the top of the plant grow, The kids filled their watering cans with water captured in a rain barrel to water in their planted seeds and surrounding flowers. Watering the garden was definitely a favorite task among the kids.




Sheldon Fleming established Wonderland Gardens nearly fifteen years ago in Decatur GA to teach the community about organic gardening and sustainable living. The 8.5 acre green space has nature walks, flower beds and an organic vegetable garden which provides an environment for visitors to connect with nature. The gardens are open for the public to explore and enjoy from dawn to dusk daily. There is no admission fee.

Wonderland has developed educational programs for sharing the principles of environmental conservation and recycling with an emphasis on the need for good stewardship of the earth. Sheldon and the gardens partners have promoted the Weight Off Wisely (WOW) Factor program teaching how consuming properly prepared produce, water and exercise will promote good health and make an impact in our neighborhoods.

Sheldon Fleming’s welcoming manner and generous spirit make Wonderland Gardens a delightful place to visit as well as an invaluable resource for our community.

In 2005 Coach Anthony Wainwright founded Inspiring Kids Academy Inc. to help children rise above poverty through education and athletics. For five years IKA ran a summer baseball camp annually serving over 200 boys ages 5-13. Now located in Decatur and housed within a 82,000 square foot indoor facility IKA now reach’s thousands of children each year.  The center has developed numerous programs from Cheerleading to Soccer, Preschool to After School care, classes for Life Skills and a Healthy Kids Club. Through the leadership and vision of Coach Anthony, the Academy has come to benefit many children and the community at large in numerous ways.Image

During the summer of 2012, Wellcom sponsored a partnership between Wonderland Gardens and Inspiring Kids Academy to provide an opportunity for an underserved group of children from Decatur, Georgia, to spend time in a garden learning about their natural environment, conservation and growing healthy food. Image