School Gardens Program Receives $10,000 Grant

School Gardens Program Receives $10,000 Grant title=
School Gardens Program Receives $10,000 Grant
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By Explore Ecology

The school garden at La Honda STEAM Academy in Lompoc is brimming over with summer flowers, healthy fruit trees, and lots of delicious vegetables, all ready for the students' return to campus. On Saturday, August 27th, the garden will also be filled with volunteers from the local chapter of Moms Demand Action.

Creating a healthy, supportive community where young people live and play is necessary for future generations to thrive. To achieve this, Santa Barbara Moms Demand Action and Explore Ecology have partnered on an environmental design project that will kick off on August 27th at La Honda STEAM Academy.

The Santa Barbara local group of Moms Demand Action teamed up with Explore Ecology and their School Gardens Program to secure a $10,000 grant. The grant will be used to improve outdoor spaces that promote community gathering and connection in the La Honda School Garden. One of only ten Wear Orange Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Grants given nationally by Everytown’s Community Safety Fund to support unique environmental projects, Santa Barbara Moms Demand Action and Explore Ecology are proud to partner together on this project to benefit community youth. 

Lindsay Johnson, Explore Ecology Executive Director, says, “We are excited and honored to receive this grant. We have seen the impact that a thriving, bountiful school garden can have on a community. When we bring nature into the built environment, positive things happen! We say that school gardens grow not only organic produce, they also grow community. Many of our gardens inspire students and staff to hold farmers’ markets on campus and provide food for cafeterias. We also see a lot of neighborhood involvement with many neighbors wanting to volunteer in gardens - once you plant a garden, it has a ripple effect on the whole community.” 

Kendall Pata of Santa Barbara Moms Demand Action says, "Moms Demand Action is a national, grassroots advocacy group fighting to make our communities safer by advocating for common sense gun safety legislation. We are focusing on the transformational power of outdoor spaces that make our communities safer."

On Saturday, August 27th, from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, volunteers from Moms Demand Action will participate in a day of service at the La Honda garden by moving mulch, filling planter beds with soil and compost, and painting picnic tables with decorative designs. By improving and increasing this green space, the renovated garden will help Explore Ecology continue to provide critical community support and hands-on educational programming. The garden is a safe gathering space where students, parents, teachers, and community members come together and connect with nature.

Paul Bommersbach, Coordinator of Pupil Support Services, says "Lompoc Unified School District looks forward to the opportunity to be a partner in this community project with both Explore Ecology and their School Garden Program and Moms Demand Action to benefit the students, staff, and parents at La Honda STEAM Academy. Explore Ecology staff and volunteers have made such a positive impact already on several elementary school campuses in Lompoc with their beautiful gardens for our students. Then, with the partnership of Moms Demand Action and their work to make our communities safer by advocating for common sense gun safety legislation, it’s a win win for the community of Lompoc and our students. LUSD looks forward to this continued partnership for the benefit of all involved."

Explore Ecology Garden Educator at La Honda, Linda Martinson says, "The garden is a place where students find peace in the observations of the natural world. I see the calming effect this special space has on students. I love watching them leave the garden with smiling faces after discovering a chrysalis or spending time digging in the soil."

Moms Demand Action raises awareness about the gun violence epidemic in our nation. Every day, more than 110 Americans are killed with guns and twice as many are shot and wounded. Gun suicide claims the lives of over 24,000 people in the United States each year and firearms are now the leading cause of death for children and teens in the United States.

An environmental education and arts nonprofit, Explore Ecology educates and empowers the next generation of environmental stewards in classrooms and gardens throughout the County.

About Explore Ecology: Explore Ecology is an environmental education and arts nonprofit that educates over 38,000 children a year, inspiring them to engage with the natural world, think critically, and experience the value of environmental stewardship. Explore Ecology programs include the Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store and Gallery, Watershed Resource Center, and School Gardens Program. For more information, visit ExploreEcology.org. 

Photos of La Honda STEAM Academy by Linda Martinson, Garden Educator

Photos of Moms Demand Action members by Katie Abbott Photography
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a-1661085800 Aug 21, 2022 05:43 AM
School Gardens Program Receives $10,000 Grant

Bravo, THANK YOU! I care for my deceased mother's garden, drought resistant with some food trees. It is her legacy and inheritance, an honor to care for -- tending her garden is communing with her.

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