A MORTEHOE businesswoman has used her own family as the inspiration for a website designed to encourage young people to enjoy gardening and recycling. All three of Kathy Rustell s children - and her mum -appear on the Dan The Gardener website, with 20-y
A MORTEHOE businesswoman has used her own family as the inspiration for a website designed to encourage young people to enjoy gardening and recycling. All three of Kathy Rustell's children - and her mum -appear on the Dan The Gardener website, with 20-year-old son Dan the main character. Dan The Gardener is based on environmental, recycling and gardening projects with the aim of teaching children about the natural world in exciting ways.After two years in the making, the website featuring the characters is growing in popularity as people from across the world log on to learn about the environment, children's gardening and recycling's three Rs and to catch up with Dan's adventures in Three Little Woods. Kathy said keen gardener Dan was tperfect for her lead character. "When Dan was younger, we didn't have a garden, so he had to find other places to grow things in," she said. "He would recycle old black bins and buckets by using them to grow onions, potatoes and strawberries. He loved doing it and he was really green fingered."Dan The Gardener like his real life counterpart places a lot of emphasis on using whatever space is available to grow fruit, vegetables, herbs and other plants. Kathy hopes Dan will encourage children with no gardens of their own to become involved with a community gardening scheme or to create their own windowsill garden project.Also featured on the website is Kathy's eldest son Michael as Recycle Michael, a robot made up of recycled goods, daughter Jennifer is the local school teacher and her mum Fran is the person Dan turns to for advice.With funding from Leader Plus, the website and 12 characters have been developed by Kathy, New Zealand based designer Andy Griffith and website designer Steve Sims."It has been a real family affair with everyone getting involved," added Kathy. "The children are now at university but still help write things for the website, especially Dan as he is studying conservation and wildlife at university." The website also features healthy living advice, competitions, games, downloads a free online club to join and an online shop.Dan The Gardener recently made the transition from online to offline by helping Landkey School plant a silver birch tree in its sensory garden for International Plant a Tree Day."We want to get more local schools involved in environmental projects by visiting students and providing advice; therefore we need to work offline as well as online." For more information visit www.danthegardener.co.uk.