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Inspiring Visitors to Create Trails of Wonder in Their Own Backyards

Release Date: 3/4/2003
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – Visit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s award-winning exhibit, Trails of Wonder, at the 2003 Philadelphia Flower Show.

This year' s exhibit, Veredas de Maravillas, or Trails of Wonder, received the best in show award, in the non-academic education category, and a special citation from the American Horticulture Society for excellence illustrating the bond between horticulture and the environment and inspiring visitors to use these concepts in their homes and communities.

“These awards are tributes to a team of employees dedicated to environmental protection. With modest financial support from EPA, they are involved in every aspect of the exhibit from its design and construction to selecting the plants, forcing the bulbs and maintaining them in backyard greenhouses, to responding to a wide range of questions from the quarter of a million visitors touring the show,” said Donald S. Welsh, mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

The team, all from the EPA’s mid-Atlantic office, is headed by environmental scientist Jeff Lapp, and includes Ken Anderson, Todd Lutte, Andy Dinsmore, Ed Cobbs, Jeff Pike, Steve Donohue, Jamie Davis, Annie Donnelly, and Carol Petrow.

The exhibit showcases an area along a nature trail filled with native plants and a camping lean-to. The display is complete with a waterfall and wetlands, giving visitors a sense of stepping off an Appalachian trail and seeing a bridge over a mountain stream surrounded by native plants and shrubs.

This year's exhibit encourages habitat preservation to help maintain genetic diversity. The site will look like many places in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.

There are many take-home messages. Using native plants preserves the local botanical gene pool, requires less fertilizers and pesticides, conserves water, maintains ecological balance, and avoids introducing invasive non-native plants.

Several publications on environmental gardening will be available at the exhibit for visitors to take home. For additional information, the EPA’s green gardening website: is available year round.

The Philadelphia Flower Show is at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It opened Sunday, March 2 and runs through Sunday, March 9.