“Nature creates a balance and helps all different ecosystems thrive.”
Falon Tabares, Founder of The Healthy Earth
Falon Tabares is the mother of two amazing children and the Founder of The Healthy Earth Organization, a charitable nonprofit organization created to educate youth in Southwest Florida about current environmental issues as a way to empower them to better understand nature and their world. With a focus on providing resources and experiences, The Healthy Earth Org is working to create opportunities for the next generation to develop innovative solutions that foster positive change within their communities and the environment.
Incorporating Nature Into School Curriculum
Falon’s love of nature and her desire to help solve the critical environmental issues our world is facing today is what inspired her to think about and look closely at her children’s education. “There wasn’t much curriculum about the importance of nature and where food comes from and I realized that I did not want my 3-year-old and the other children in my community to grow up unsynchronized with nature,“ said Falon.
So she began to design a horticulture curriculum for preschool children which became a huge success. “The children loved it,” she shared, “and the families raved about how much the children would share about what they learned during the session!” This powerful response was the motivating force that led to the development of The Healthy Earth Organization.
Falon’s love for gardening events and beach, reef, and mangrove cleanup activities combined with her enthusiasm for connecting with volunteers and excitement at how well the curriculum had been received propelled her forward. Even when faced with obstacles, Falon remained positive and believed in her vision.
“Due to a terrible natural disaster in our community, Hurricane Ian, we had to pause the project to help our community rebuild first,” she explained. “The pandemic did not help either. Many of the families we serve were receiving information from non-credited sources and felt scared. Children stayed home all day and many of our families reported having 8-plus hours of screen time. Once we got back into activities it was hard for the children to stay focused.”
However, Falon continued to build The Healthy Earth Org and connect with the community. In fact, a meeting with another organization would give birth to a beautiful project.
Healing Grief with Nature
Upon meeting with Valerie’s House of Naples, an organization whose mission is focused assuring, “No Child Will Grieve Alone,” Falon asked if they had a grieving garden. When they said they did not, Falon began to share the incredible benefits of creating a space where grieving children and their families would have an opportunity to be in nature together and perhaps even participate in activities such as painting and planting together.
They loved the idea but worried about the funding and maintenance of such a project. Falon assured them that The Healthy Earth Org would not only be able to help, they had plenty of volunteers who would be more than happy to provide assistance with the garden maintenance. So, a partnership was born with Valerie’s House of Naples, Collier County Pollution Control and The Healthy Earth Org to create the Butterfly Grieving Garden.
Falon and her team are grateful that their project went on to receive support from The Pollination Project. Though it’s still in its early stages, the goal is to impact over 100 children and create more partnerships with the community.
A Look to the Future
As Falon looks toward the future, she stays focused on working to help children and families feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves. “If we continue to not address or rectify the current plastic crisis, or the continued use of finite resources, such as coal and petroleum, among others, we will continue to shift the balance within nature and destroy our environment.” Working together now will not only allow the next generation to change our current course and create a brighter future, it will help us all to heal.
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