Diggin’ it!

Nuggets players are on the ball as they join second graders at Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver Nuggets players Corey Brewer and Jordan Hamilton took an easy shot at helping the environment last week when they joined a bunch of second graders from Dora Moore Elementary School at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Their visit was part of the preparations for the upcoming NBA Cares Green Week, April 4-12, during which the NBA plans on exploring ways to become a more environmentally responsible organization through such things as recycling programs and service projects.

Denver Nugget Corey Brewer laughs as he watches to see how his teammate Jordan Hamilton will answer a tricky question from a Dora Moore School second grader.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

The athletes, who towered over their young fans, didn’t mind getting their hands dirty, either. Brewer and Hamilton dug in as they helped fill small containers with soil in anticipation of planting flowers with the students at the potting station in Mitchell Hall.

Denver Nugget Corey Brewer and his two young friends from Dora Moore School tamp down the soil around their freshly potted pansies at Denver Botanic Gardens.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

A horticulturist was on hand to teach the young sprouts about the planting process, a regular part of Denver Botanic Gardens’ emphasis on helping students grow their science skills as they gather knowledge and appreciation for the natural world.

Horticulturist Angie Andrade-Foster instructs Austin to gently rub a leaf on the herbal plant in front of him, and then to smell his fingers.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

As for the two basketball players, they seemed to be enjoying themselves, too, as they delicately tamped down soil around freshly potted pansies and explored a table filled with sensory plants.

This group of second graders shows off their newly-obtained gardening gloves. They are dwarfed by the enormous leaves behind them in the Tropical Conservatory.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

They also made some points with the youngsters (and adults) who tossed them questions about life on the basketball court.

Denver Botanic Gardens PR Manager Will Jones and Children’s Program Manager Claudia Kiesenhofer chat moments before Dora Moore School second graders arrive to learn about gardening and the importance of protecting the environment. This event was hosted by the Denver Nuggets in partnership with the National Resources Defense Council.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

“The NBA’s commitment to reduce its ecological impact and to help educate basketball fans worldwide about the importance of environmental protection confirms why the league is regarded as one of the world’s most responsible sports organizations,” according Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which coordinated this partnership.

Second graders fill their pots with soil in preparation for planting pansies at the potting station in Mitchell Hall.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

“Besides the tangible public health benefits that this initiative will advance, having the NBA embrace ecological criteria in its operations represents a watershed in our nation’s movement toward environmental progress,” he added.


At the Sensory Plant Station, one student gazes intently at a plant, while his compatriot explores the plant tactily.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

The second graders appeared to grasp the importance of learning about the environment during their afternoon visit to Denver Botanic Gardens on March 12.

Austin displays his personalized pot just before it receives a new inhabitant.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

For other budding green thumbs, they can learn about the various flowers and fauna during the Gardens’ annual spring plant sale, which is just around the corner on May 10-11.

This second grader from Dora Moore School happily departs from the Denver Botanic Gardens with autographed souvenirs from Denver Nuggets Corey Brewer and Jordan Hamilton.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman

A group shot of Denver Nuggets Corey Brewer and Jordan Hamilton surrounded by Dora Moore School teacher Michelle Chouris’ second graders at Denver Botanic Gardens’ Mitchell Hall.
Photo by John Schoenwalter/The Colorado Statesman