Argonne Elementary, an urban San Francisco public school, received a wonderful new addition to its school yard on Saturday, Feb 22nd. After several months of working together, planning, raising funds, and getting donations from local businesses the garden was finally installed. There were a few false starts, delays, and irrigation issues that had to be worked out. When we were finally ready, the rain put off our garden build a bit further; however, the end result was well worth the wait. The garden main entrance of Argonne has been completely redone with all new native CA plants, the majority of these plants were generously donated by Bay Natives. All of this was made possible by hard work and dedication of school administrators, parents, teachers, volunteers, and members of the California Native Garden Foundation located at the Middlebrook Center in downtown San Jose.
The garden consists of mostly native plants organized to facilitate teaching the students. The main section includes a birdbath, a hummingbird garden, and a walkway into the garden that the kids can explore. There is a section dedicated to edibles so that the Argonne students and teachers can literally taste the fruits of their labor, including some very promising strawberry bushes.
There was a great turnout from the local community. Many parents came to help work on the garden, removing the old plants and putting in new ones. The Argonne students were also a huge help in the the planning of the garden and then getting their hands dirty and learning about gardening, native plants, and our ecology. Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely.
The Argonne school stands as a model of success in integrating a teaching garden and helping to restore our ecology in the busy urban environment of San Francisco.
Our work with installing ELSEE model teaching gardens in our public schools is an ongoing effort that is sponsored by our non-profit California Native Garden Foundation. We receive funds from our schools, corporate donations, events, and grants to continue this valuable program. Check our site and Get Involved in transforming our community into a better and more ecologically sustainable place to live.
Stay up to date with the Middlebrook Center by visiting our website middlebrookcenter.com/elsee/ or come see us in person at 76 Race Street in downtown San Jose to see what we’re doing. We are open during the week until 4PM and on the weekends during our events. Check our our website for updates.