School gardens are classrooms in motion; they require an abundance of labor to be kept in proper shape. And while students are on summer break, the growth in these gardens bolts. It’s the time of year when the help of corporate volunteer groups is key.
Last week a group of 26 local Target employees volunteered their time to assist PUSD Farm to School Coordinator and Master Gardener Jill McArthur in the almost two acre school garden at John Muir Early College Magnet. This garden has been undergoing an incredible and timely metamorphosis. Given climate change, the need to teach to its effects, and the recognition of gardens as places of health and wellness, it’s being transformed into a waterwise learning environment filled with California native plants that can be used for lessons and student relaxation.
According to an analysis of 20 scientific studies on the effects of outdoor learning by the Natural Medicine Journal, “Outdoor education was associated with an increase in prosocial behavior, a reduction in hyperactivity-inattention, and decreased mental health struggles and peer problems. Better teamwork among peers was reported, with students developing greater respect and better communication and interaction skills.” Science tells us outdoor classrooms are important spaces for our children!
Gardens are places of inspiration. Of course, they connect students with nature. They can also connect organizations and businesses to our school community, too. Whether it’s furthering a love of science, sparking a poem, inviting a brief respite, or offering a way to give back under the canopy of a blue sky, they remind us of our relationship to the world and to one another.
If you’d like to organize a day of service for your company or group in a school garden, please reach out. There’s a school garden not so patiently waiting for you!
Contact Nancy Carol Inguanzo, Community Engagement & Volunteer Manager, at email@example.com