Apple Blossom Elementary: Sebastopol

The garden serves as an outdoor experiential classroom where students participate in growing their own food using sustainable practices that foster connection to the land. The SGN Garden-Based Education grant (2009-2010) allowed the school to hire a Garden Education Coordinator to lead garden activities, organize parent volunteers and plan garden-based science with environmental education staff. Now all students can participate on a weekly basis in the garden.

Garden lessons in each grade integrate exploration of plants, insects, riparian ecosystems and soil science. Fourth grade teachers started a native plant garden that includes ornamental and edible plants to supplement units on California history and geography. The Environmental Science Education series, developed & funded by the Bay Institute STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed) program and the Twin Hills Apple Blossom Educational Foundation, meets state standards through garden-based laboratory science experiences.

The PTA Green Team organizes volunteer days and raises funds. The PTA Wellness Committee plans to help integrate garden produce into the school lunch program as the production of the garden increases. With help from the non-profit Compost Club, the lunch waste compost program has cut garbage pick-up in half. Fifth graders have compost duty and create five-pound bags of compost to sell for fundraising. Orchard View High School students help construct worm bins, manage compost and teach lessons to elementary students. Plan to expand the garden include up to a dozen 4 x 10 planter boxes and in-ground beds, fruit trees, berry bushes and an herb garden.