This Friday, from 5:30-8 p.m., the North Carolina Botanical Garden is hosting their second annual Pumpkins in the BOOtanical Garden to raise awareness for the Wonder Connection program. With activities such as potion making, leaf art and candy catapults, BOOtanical Garden has fun planned for kids of all ages.
The stations and activities at BOOtanical Garden mirror those done by Wonder Connection, a 11-year-old program that brings science and nature to child patients in Duke and UNC hospitals. Katie Stoudemire, the founder of Wonder Connection, merged her two passions of science and pediatric care together to form the unique program in order to allow children in hospitals to experience nature they aren’t exposed to as patients.
“Our hope is that by bringing in people from the community we can introduce them to the Botanical Garden and also to Wonder Connection,” Stoudemire said. “What we need help with is getting word out about what we do because 99 percent of what we do is grant- and donation-funded. So we need to let people know what we are doing so we can keep doing it.”
The event will feature live animals from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and Durham Academy students are bringing robots and materials for attendees to build their very own candy catapult. The prototype of the WonderSphere will be featured at the event. The WonderSphere allows for patients who cannot be around live plants to put their hands in gloves that go into a bubble that houses plants.
Attendees are encouraged to bring a pre-carved pumpkin to participate in the Nature Pumpkin Carving contest, where the winner of the best nature-themed pumpkin will be chosen by two judges, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger and Wonder Connection science ambassador Charlie Harris.