NEW JERSEY (WPVI) -- In celebration of Earth Day two New Jersey schools, one a special needs school and one a diverse high school, were surprised with checks to enhance their environmental programs.
The students at Archbishop Damiano School in Westville, Gloucester County have worked tirelessly building their horticultural program.
Horticulture teacher Linda McHugh said, "We started very small with just a few butterfly bushes and we've grown and now we have a full-size greenhouse."
That hard work has paid off, this school is one of two recipients of the 2018 Environmental Community Service Award. The award is handed out annually by law firm Manko, Gold, Katcher, and Fox along with Wawa and 6abc.
The school's are each given a $5,000 check.
The Damiano School cultivates it's own composting program and grows produce for local food pantries.
"We also use them in our school lunches in the summer," McHugh said.
The students are not only learning the importance of gardening and fresh food, one young man is learning to speak Italian!
Chris Young cares for his own sensory garden.
"From the feeling and the smelling, he knows his plants. I also like the smell of thyme," said McHugh.
The money is earmarked for wheelchair accessible garden beds, railings along the pathway and braille signs.
Carlos Leon, a junior said, "I think it's awesome I love this kind of stuff."
Penns Grove High School in Carney's Point, Salem County is poised to make a big impact on Monarch butterflies.
Science teacher Vicki Palaganas said, "90% of the population is completely eliminated, there is only 10% left."
This winning school hopes captive breeding of the butterflies will change that.
They plan to use the money for growth lights, more plants, and breeding nets.
Dean Marich, a senior said, "I'm really excited. I can't, I'm actually a little shaky still a little excited."
Congratulations to both of our winners.
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