In honor of Michael, our family has decided to work to fund and construct a Learning Garden at Washington Woods Elementary School in Westfield, Indiana. We have chosen Indiana as the location for this initial project to carry on his legacy as Michael's nephews, Luke and Everett, attend Washington Woods and it is of extreme importance to them not only to have a tribute for their Uncle Michael, but also to have a memory that will inspire their own personal growth and the growth of the school community.
We plan to partner with Indianapolis-based 317Grow (https://317grow.com/) for the planning/construction of the Learning Garden and national organization Big Green (https://biggreen.org/) for the educational programming around gardening, cooking, entrepreneurship, and real food that will be associated with the Learning Garden once it is up and running. Additionally, Michael's business partner, David Varnell of Kelly Varnell Virgona, Inc. Landscape Architecture in Bergenfield, New Jersey (http://kvvinc.com/), has graciously volunteered to do the initial site design for the Learning Garden in Michael's honor.
We believe that this project truly embodies Michael's passion for nature, his love of children, and his inspired curiosity for life. We hope you will join us in our quest to help Michael's passions live on through the lives of others.
Our goal is to fully fund this initial Learning Garden at Washington Woods and to also raise enough money to create a similar Learning Garden at a location in New Jersey with connections to Michael's family. If funding goals for both of these projects are met, we would then like to move forward with the creation of a youth mountain biking program, also in Michael's honor. Our initial goal for these projects is $150,000.
It has been very humbling to witness the number of people that loved Michael and to hear from so many that he impacted positively through his life. He was a true leader...he changed the lives of many in wonderful ways. Together, we ask you to join us to create a beautiful representation of the person that Michael was, and the person that he has inspired us all to become.