Ground Education is now working with one of our favorite outdoor learning gardens at Los Cerritos Elementary. The level of parent, student, staff, and community excitement is unprecedented, with more than 70 people attending our kick-off work party. So far, third graders have made homemade seasonal jam and first graders have tasted a range of yummy and surprising plant parts. We look forward to a long-term partnership with this amazing school and its can-do parent Garden Committee.
Yay!!! After months of waiting, Ground Education is officially a tax-exempt organization and donors can now deduct any contributions they make to our outdoor education program. We are anxious to find new partners who will help us bring our award-winning outdoor education program to new schools. Let the funding search begin...
and our native plants are loving it. Last weekend Ground Education partnered with the Los Cerritos Wetlands Stewards and students from CSULB to plant more than 150 natives in our Schoolyard Habitat at Lowell Elementary. We braved steep slopes and sneaky winds to welcome these specimens to their new home. This is Phase III of a multi-year effort to remove invasive ice plant and provide a thoughtful, native sanctuary for local wildlife and vegetation. Elementary students help with every step, and have been discovering many new visitors to the school, including western fence lizards and local sweat bees. And now Mother Nature is doing her part, providing much needed seasonal rains. Hooray.
We are in the middle of the largest migration in history. For the first time ever, more than half of the world's people live in urban areas. So what, then, is nature's role in a city? Perhaps the most exciting glimpse of what nature can mean for cities is emerging from scientists who find that a little bit of urban nature helps people truly flourish. A 2015 study in Barcelona found that green spaces around schools improve the mental development of young children. A Toronto study showed that increasing the number of trees on a street significantly improves resident health.*
Our students are building "green infrastructure" at several Long Beach schools by planting schoolyard habitats with plants that function as naturally occurring plant communities. We believe that nature can help make cities healthier, more resilient and more appealing places to live - and that we can conserve nature not from cities, but for cities.
*The Nature Conservancy, Feb/March 2016