First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale, 401 SE 15 Ave., is the proud winner of Broward County's 2016 NatureScape Emerald Award.Located in Fort Lauderdale's picturesque Colee Hammock neighborhood, First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale, 401 SE 15 Ave., is the proud winner of Broward County's 2016 NatureScape Emerald Award. The church's newly designed Hoch Family Village Courtyard won this prestigious award in the Special Achievement category.


"Our vision to create a beautiful, quiet, multipurpose garden retreat that complements the historical architecture of the neighborhood is now a reality and we are just so honored to receive this award," said Rev. Dr. Russell H. Ritchel, Interim Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale.

Designed by Cadence Landscape Architects and installed by Natural Art Landscape and Design, the Hoch Family Village Courtyard features native plants and an irrigation system that reduces the amount of water needed for maintenance, yet attracts butterflies and other native fauna.

"When we say 'First Presbyterian Church is where faith comes alive,' we don't just mean in the Church; we also mean in the Lord's natural sanctuary," said Rev. Dr. Ritchel. "The Florida-friendly landscape surrounding the Hoch Family Village Courtyard brings a natural beauty to our outdoor functions, and we are developing a plan to continue to beautify the church campus and create a better utilization of the space."

First Presbyterian Church of Fort Lauderdale, along with five other distinguished NatureScape Award winners, will be presented with a trophy for their outstanding achievements in implementing landscapes designed to conserve natural resources and provide valuable habitat for native and migratory wildlife. The special Emerald Awards ceremony will take place on Water Matters Day on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 9 a.m. at Tree Tops Park (Sabal Palm Pavilion), 3900 SW 100th Ave., Davie.

To be considered for one of the NatureScape awards, a yard must be recognized as a Florida-friendly landscape through the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods Program and/or be certified as a Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. NatureScape yards are designed to conserve water by reducing lawn areas and using native and Florida-friendly plants; provide food, water and shelter for wildlife; use integrated pest control practices; reduce storm water contaminated by pesticides and fertilizers; and recycle yard waste into mulch and compost.

Also being awarded this year are:

  • Janice Malkoff and Robert Shaw (Cooper City) and Jim and Maggie Dunn (Fort Lauderdale) - NatureScape Emerald Award Homeowners
  • The City of Coral Springs for ArtWalk and Fire Station 71 and the City of Sunrise for Oak Hammock Park and Cypress Preserve - NatureScape Government/School/Municipality
  • Veteran's Garden Project at the William "Bill" Kling VA Clinic - NatureScape Special Achievement