American Heart Association and The California Endowment Showcase Teaching Gardens Program at the World Premiere of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Dr. Seuss' The Lorax

February 20, 2012 Categories: Program News
DALLAS, Feb. 20, 2012 — Teaching Gardens founder Kelly Chapman Meyer, the American Heart Association and The California Endowment featured a Teaching Garden at the world premiere of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Dr. Seuss' The Lorax. The Teaching Garden is now on its way to The Accelerated Charter Elementary Schools, model schools in South Los Angeles.
American Heart Association Teaching Gardens provide a hands-on learning experience rooted in offering nutritional choices. It is a real life laboratory where students learn how to plant seeds, nurture the growing plants, harvest the food, and ultimately understand the connection between the environment and their health. For many inner city children, Teaching Gardens provide them with the only interaction they have between nature and fresh produce.
It is for this reason the American Heart Association and The California Endowment teamed up with Dr. Suess' The Lorax. Dr. Seuss' timeless story reinforces what we know – when you plant the seeds and nurture and harvest the plants, kids learn the value of good eating habits and appreciate the environment. The film opens in theaters March 2.
After walking The Lorax orange carpet, students from The Accelerated Charter Elementary Schools were in attendance at the premiere's party where they were able to see and touch the Teaching Garden their school will soon receive and continue to harvest and nurture before heading in to watch the film.  Also in attendance were students from additional schools who are recipients of the Teaching Gardens and include:
  • 96th Street Elementary
  • James A. Foshay Learning Center
  • Edwin Markham Middle School
  • Mary McLeod Bethune Middle School
  • Challengers Boys & Girls Club
  • LA's Promise Schools
  • Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy
“We're grateful the children have the opportunity to be here for the premiere of The Lorax and to have access to the American Heart Association Teaching Gardens,” said Susan Raudry, principal, The Accelerated Charter Elementary Schools.
Teaching Gardens were created using American Heart Association science and nutrition guidelines coupled with information from gardening and education experts, all thanks to Teaching Gardens founder Kelly Meyer. The program combines nutrition education with garden-based learning. Numerous studies have shown participation in school garden programs can have a positive impact on student’s attitudes toward fruits and vegetables.
The American Heart Association and Meyer are committed to growing Teaching Gardens in schools and communities across the country. Teaching Gardens are thriving in California thanks to a deep-rooted commitment from The California Endowment, and now the American Heart Association has more than 100 gardens nationwide.
Studies show that healthy behavior positively impacts learning. The goal of the program is to improve children’s overall health.
  • One in three American children are overweight or obese.
  • Fewer than one in 10 high school students consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables daily.
  • French fries are the most common source of vegetables consumed by children and make up one-fourth of their vegetable intake.
The Teaching Gardens program is part of a larger American Heart Association, My Heart. My Life. healthy living initiative, designed to help Americans understand what it means to be healthy, and to take action. For more information about the Teaching Gardens program and how you can participate, visit
Photos, logos, and related links are located on the right column of the release:
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke — America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit
The California Endowment
The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation, was established in 1996 to expand access to affordable, quality health care for underserved individuals and communities, and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status of all Californians. Headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, The Endowment has regional offices in Sacramento, Oakland, Fresno and San Diego, with program staff working throughout the state. The Endowment challenges the conventional wisdom that medical settings and individual choices are solely responsible for people's health. The Endowment believes that health happens in neighborhoods, schools, and with prevention. For more information, visit The California Endowment's homepage at
About Kelly Meyer
In response to America's childhood obesity crisis, Kelly Meyer created the Teaching Gardens program in 2010. She has been a long-time environmental and health activist. Among her accomplishments, she has helped raise more than $40 million for pioneering cancer research, lobbied Congress to reform the Toxic Substance Control Act, built California's first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum-Certified home and has held prominent positions with the Natural Resources Defense Council. A tireless fundraiser for environmental causes, she recently supported the implementation of the Marine Life Preserve Area on the coast of Southern California.
Kristi Manning