May Their School Garden Grow!
Explore Ecology and Santa Ynez Valley Charter School Beauty Their Garden
Santa Barbara: Students at Santa Ynez Valley Charter School celebrated Earth Day with a school wide activity in the garden.
Students gathered in the garden amphitheater along with special guests from Explore Ecology, the Santa Barbara County Office of Education, and the Santa Ynez Valley Botanical Garden for an Earth Day assembly. Alex Bereda, School Gardens Program Director at Explore Ecology, gave the keynote speech where he challenged students to “Use your scientific tools...your 5 senses...to explore the garden today”.
Students heard birds, wind, leaves, and a passing airplane; they saw lizards, spiders and trees; they tasted herbs and vegetables grown in the garden; they smelled the scent of flowers, pine trees, and honeysuckle; and they felt leaves, compost, garden tools, and the ground.
Following the assembly, students worked in the garden on one of twenty different jobs including tending the garden compost, preparing planting beds, painting signs, creating garden art, and cleaning up different areas of the garden. A group of 2nd graders explained their jobs “I painted signs with my buddy!” Another said, “My group harvested herbs." “I planted corn!” “And I took pictures!”
The garden at Santa Ynez Valley Charter School has grown over the past 10 years into a 2.5 acre hillside garden, complete with fruit trees, raised beds, butterfly gardens, council circle, zen garden, compost system, Nature Center, rain barrel collection system, and solar oven. The garden is a true outdoor classroom, used weekly by all students in grades K-5 for garden instruction.
At the end of the Earth Day event, all students and volunteers were offered rice cooked in the school’s solar oven and seasoned with herbs from the garden. A wonderful celebration of Earth Day!
The Santa Ynez Valley Charter School Garden is a part of the larger Explore Ecology School Gardens Program
, a network of 30 Santa Barbara County School Gardens on Elementary campuses. The goal of the School Gardens Program is to connect students with their environment and their food through hands on, meaningful lessons in their school garden.
About Explore Ecology
: Explore Ecology is an environmental education and arts nonprofit located in downtown Santa Barbara. Explore Ecology
empowers people to protect and preserve the environment and inspires them to make smart choices that shape a better future.
Explore Ecology programs include the Art From Scrap
Creative ReUse Store and Gallery, Watershed Resource Center
, Flows to the Ocean Marine Debris Prevention Program
, and School Gardens Program.
About Santa Ynez Valley Charter School (SYVCS): SYVCS nurtures its students and prepares them for high school and beyond by offering K-8 Music, Arts and Garden Education Programs, as well as a multi-age buddy program. Today, SYVCS is a thriving school of 200 students grades K-8 supported by a community of involved students, parents, and educators.For more information, visit www.syvcs.org or call 805-686-7360.