Sequoia Elementary School
On Tuesday, December 5th, International Volunteer Day, members of the KidsGardening team spent the morning with a group of ProFlowers employees expanding a garden at Sequoia Elementary School in San Diego.
There were six pre-existing raised beds at the school, all of which are maintained by a youth garden club headed by Health Tech Janice Roy. Students dedicate time during recess to water plants and weed in the beds. The club also takes full advantage of the delicious vegetables they grow; just the other week students created and sampled a kale salad right in the garden.
“Many students live in apartments so it’s great to have them come outside and have the opportunity to dig in the dirt,” says Roy. “It’s a really good group, they’re dedicated kids. They keep saying that they want to make the garden bigger, and I always tell them that we’ll make it bigger!”
Which is where ProFlowers and KidsGardening come in. ProFlowers, a company dedicated to giving back to the community, partnered with KidsGardening to build a garden at a San Diego school. Sequoia Elementary School was selected for this opportunity based on their enthusiasm for garden-based learning and their clear vision for the future. “We have a Wellness Plan where we’re trying to get kids eating healthier and the garden is part of that,” explains Principal Ryan Kissel. “We’re looking to collaborate with the cafeteria a bit more, to get to a point where we can bring our veggies there and we can bring compost out to the garden.”
Part of Tuesday’s build included the construction of two large composting bins and three smaller vermicomposting units that will help the school move towards this objective.
ProFlowers volunteers also built four new raised beds that Garden Club students filled with a variety of flowers and herbs. Janice and the students specifically expressed interest in adding pollinator-themed beds to their space in an effort to attract more bees and butterflies to the garden. Three new fruit trees were also planted during the expansion.
Although the content of these four beds may change over the seasons, without a doubt, they’ve generated a stir of excitement throughout the school. On the day of the build many teachers passed through the garden, expressing a desire to take advantage of the new features with their students. “Now I have a bunch of kids who want to join Garden Club,” commented one teacher who brought his class out to observe the volunteers in action, while Kissel commented, “Kids were saying ‘I want to go to the garden, I want to help in the garden!’ That’s the energy I want to generate, to get kids excited about gardening and eating healthy, about being outdoors and the environment. There was some interest already, but now there’s more!”