A Workshop for Educators

February 8th, 2014

Learn how to build living willow structures with your colleagues and take your green schoolyard to the next level!  In this day-long workshop, you will learn all of the principles and methods needed to make a living arch, tunnel, dome & bench.  We will discuss harvesting techniques & strategies; design & siting; and long-term care & maintenance.  Participants will leave with an expanded vision of the sculptural, educational and ecological possibilities inherent in this abundant native material.Saturday, February 8th9am – 4:30pm

$50 / participant

Lunch included


The Guerneville School

14630 Armstrong Woods Road,

Guerneville, CA 95446

To register:


1) Email the following information to vanessa@oaec.org:

name, school, home address (for carpooling), cell phone & dietary restrictions.


2) Send your $50 check payable to OAEC.


Space is limited.  Register now!


Native willow trees are so vigorous that if you cut off a branch and stick it in damp soil, it will start sprouting!  Since willow is also a traditional material for making baskets and rustic furniture, there are a wide range of possibilities for creating living woven garden structures.  Willows grow widely in roadside ditches and get cut back regularly, so it’s a free material that’s available almost anywhere you go!


Josho Somine is a designer, sculptor, builder and teacher native to the Bay Area.  He started working with willow and school gardens in 2000 and has done installations and workshops in diverse sites and communities across the country.  He has been active in the national permaculture network since 1997, holds a BFA in sculpture, and a master’s in landscape architecture.  He also likes to make baskets in the winter.

Take the California School Garden Survey!

Life Lab, in collaboration with the California School Garden Network, is conducting a survey of California School Gardens. The information gathered from this survey will help those that are creating and supporting school garden projects better understand how school gardens operate.

Please help spread the word your school garden team. The goal is for every school in California to respond. For schools that do not have gardens, we want to know what the barriers are. For schools with gardens we want to know what makes them work and what resources are needed to sustain them.

Learn more and take the survey here:

National Green School Conference March 27-29th


The 4th annual Green Schools National Conference, March 27-29, 2014, in Sacramento, is sponsored by the Green Schools National Network (GSNN).

“Working Together for Healthy, Sustainable Schools”.

Leaders from across the country will share best practices and work to define solutions to address barriers to transforming all schools into green, healthy, and sustaining learning communities.

Topics will include curriculum that advances sustainability skills and knowledge for the 21st century; stewardship and service learning; sustainable facilities design, management, and operations; health and well being; and creating strong partnerships and networks.

Participants will represent hundreds of public, public charter, and private schools and school districts that see the ‘greening’ of the nation’s schools as the way to save money, improve student health and achievement — and reduce their environmental impact in the process.

Whether your school is a comprehensive ‘green school’ or just getting started, the conference will offer practical strategies, solutions and connect you with experts who can provide a ‘road map’ for greening your school or school district.


Building with Living Willow

Sherry Gibson, of Wild Woodswoman Creations, Sebastopol, is an environmental artist and educator,currently offering a fun and exciting program for regional school gardens this winter.
Sherry can design and  build a living willow structure, either alone, or with the help of teachers and children, that will become a longterm addition to
your garden.
FEE: Willow house construction including all materials-$400. A free site consultation and one year seasonal maintenance are included in every structure.
Attention: 4th grade teachers…Sherry can link your study of California Indians with a willow house project. These lessons will be aligned with some of the Common Core State Standards of the California Department of Education for history and social science, 4.32, and also the Education and the Environment Initiative,4.1.3, 4.1.5 and 4.2.1 Cost for Willow house and introductory lessons linked to the 4th grade standards $550.A free site consultation and one year seasonal maintenance are included in every structure.
Contact Sherry Gibson for more information
(707) 978-0260

Current Funding Opportunities!

The following are current funding opportunities that might apply to your school garden:

The Culinary Trust: Chefs move to school

Deadline: ONGOING
The Chefs Move to Schools Grant provides funds for culinary professionals to help our children eat right by teaching them about food, nutrition and cooking. Funds can be used from garden to table: culinary professionals may seek funding for any program that promotes health and wellness in schools. For example, the grant may be used to plant a garden, teach a class, promote or create a wellness program for students or parents or assist in creating a school curriculum that focuses on healthy eating. In order to qualify the grant applicant must have the support of the school principal and, in some cases, additional school personnel.
Website: http://www.theculinarytrust.org/#!chefs-move-to-school

Awesome Foundation‘s Food chapter
Deadline: OPEN
The Awesome Foundation‘s Food chapter is now taking applications for its $1,000 microgrants to further food awesomessness in the universe. Apply at Awesome Foundation and submit under “Food” category. Every month, one microgrant will be given for an awesome idea involving food, be it urban farming, food truck, recipe collects, pop-up cafes, or health. The more inventive the better.
Website: http://awesomefoundation.org/submissions/new

Healthy Living Grants, Cabot Creamery
Deadline: OPEN
Who May Apply: Schools with matching funds seeking to improve kids‘ health through exercise, nutrition and/or information.
Cabot is an enthusiastic supporter of our communities‘ efforts to improve our kids‘ health through exercise, better nutrition and lots of fun knowledge. Cabot created the matching grant process to encourage schools to reach out to their own local businesses, cooperatives, parent clubs and others. Doing this supports sustainability for the initiative, provides awareness about a school‘s new healthy living idea and encourages participation by community members.
Website: http://www.cabotcheese.coop/pages/community_and_you/school_grants …



Spotlight on the Steele Lane Elementary School Garden

Sabrina Howell, Steele Lane Elementary School Garden Coordinator since 2011, provides us with an insightful overview of their garden program which was started in 1989.  The school has received several grants from community groups and businesses over the years, including a recent grant from the School Garden Network.  Read more about their unique program by clicking on Spotlight on Steele Lane.

Looking back on another successful Heirloom Exposition!

The 3rd Annual National Heirloom Exposition, held in September at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, was extremely successful!  Elizabeth Westerfield, a Board member of the School Garden Network, volunteered many hours at the Expo and has provided us with a fun summary of the event in her retrospective article on the Expo.  Read on and enjoy!

NorthBay Biz Magazine Features School Garden Network in October Issue!

Lisa Preschel, School Garden Network Board President and Interim Executive Director, recently wrote an article on the School Garden Network for the Green Scene section of NorthBay biz magazine’s October issue.  The article explores the history and mission of the organization and the benefits derived from school gardens.  Click here to read the article.  Thank you NorthBay biz magazine for the opportunity to share our story!

SGN Awards $17,000 in Grant Funding for 2013-2014 School Year!

The School Garden Network of Sonoma County is pleased to announce the grant recipients for the 2013-2014 school year. The grant package includes a cash award, mentoring, and support for professional development for the school garden team.  Steele Lane Elementary School and Guerneville Elementary School have each been awarded $5,000 through the Garden-Based Education Grant.  Monte Vista Elementary School is the recipient of a $1,000 Cooking in the Garden Grant, and Monte Rio Union School District has been awarded a $4,000 Salad Bar Grant.  Wright Charter Elementary School, which was previously awarded a Garden-Based Education Grant for the 2012/2013 school year, will continue to receive funding and support for their program next year.  The School Garden Network is able to provide this crucial school garden support through the generosity of local businesses, individuals and organizations.  Unfortunately, we receive many more applications from deserving schools than we have funding to support.  This round we were able to fund five schools out of the 20 excellent proposals we received.  Our goal is to secure more funding so that we can directly support many more schools in the future.  We invite you to help us in our fundraising efforts in any way you can.  Please contact Tracy Batchelder, Grant Administrator, for more information or comments at info@schoolgardens.org or at (707) 874-1557 x301.


SGN raises $2,000 through the Human Race!

The School Garden Network would like to thank everyone that supported us through the Human Race this year.  We raised $2,000 – enough to provide two Cooking in the Garden Grants to Sonoma County schools!  Several current and past Board and staff members showed up to race with the other 9,000 runners.  The Human Race is a wonderful event that continues to raise much needed funding for Sonoma County non-profits.  We appreciate you choosing to support SGN and garden-based learning in Sonoma County schools.  THANK YOU!