The school garden program receives a grant of $10,000

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From Explore Ecology

The school garden at La Honda STEAM Academy in Lompoc is overflowing with summer flowers, healthy fruit trees and lots of delicious vegetables, all ready for the students to return to campus. On Saturday, August 27th, the garden will also be filled with volunteers from the Moms Demand Action chapter.

Creating a healthy, supportive community where young people live and play is necessary for future generations to thrive. To achieve this, Santa Barbara Moms Demand Action and Explore Ecology have partnered on an environmental design project that will begin August 27th at the La Honda STEAM Academy.

Moms Demand Action’s local Santa Barbara group has partnered with Explore Ecology and their school garden program for a $10,000 grant. The grant will be used to improve outdoor spaces that encourage community coming together and connection at La Honda School Garden. Santa Barbara Moms Demand Action and Explore Ecology are proud to partner on this project to help the youth of the community.

Lindsay Johnson, Executive Director of Explore Ecology, said: “We are pleased and honored to receive this grant. We’ve seen the impact a thriving, lush school garden can have on a community. When we bring nature into the built environment, positive things happen! We say that school gardens not only grow organic produce, they also grow community. Many of our gardens inspire students and staff to host on-campus farmers’ markets and provide food to cafeterias. We also see a lot of neighborhood engagement with many neighbors wanting to volunteer in gardens – once you plant a garden it has a ripple effect throughout the community.”

Kendall Pata of Santa Barbara Moms Demand Action says, “Moms Demand Action is a grassroots national advocacy group fighting to keep our communities safer by advocating for sound gun safety laws. We are focused on the transformative power of outdoor spaces that make our communities safer.”

On Saturday, August 27, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., volunteers from Moms Demand Action will participate in a day of service in the La Honda garden by moving mulch, filling planting beds with soil and compost, and painting picnic tables with decorative patterns. By enhancing and expanding this green space, the renovated garden will help Explore Ecology continue to provide important community support and hands-on educational programs. The garden is a safe meeting place where students, parents, teachers and community members come together and connect with nature.

Paul Bommersbach, Coordinator of Pupil Support Services, says: “The Lompoc Unified School District is excited for the opportunity to be a partner in this collaborative effort with Explore Ecology and their school garden program and Moms Demand Action to help the students, staff and parents of the La Honda STEAM Academy. Explore Ecology staff and volunteers have already made such a positive impact on our students at several primary school campuses in Lompoc with their beautiful gardens. Then with the partnership of Moms Demand Action and their work to make our communities safer by advocating for sound gun safety legislation, this is a win-win for the Lompoc community and our students. LUSD looks forward to this continued partnership for the benefit of all concerned.”

“Explore Ecology Garden Educator” at La Honda, Linda Martinson says, “The garden is a place where students find peace in observing the natural world. I see the calming effect this special room has on the students. I love watching them leave the garden smiling faces after spotting a doll or spending time digging in the ground.”

Moms Demand Action is raising awareness of the gun violence epidemic in our country. Every day more than 110 Americans are killed at gunpoint and twice that many are shot and wounded. Gun suicide claims over 24,000 lives in the United States each year, and guns are the leading killer of children and adolescents in the United States today.

Explore Ecology is a nonprofit environmental education and arts organization that educates and empowers the next generation of environmentalists in classrooms and gardens across the county.

About Explore Ecology: Explore Ecology is a non-profit environmental education and arts organization that educates over 38,000 children annually and inspires them to engage with nature, think critically, and learn the value of protecting the environment. Explore Ecology programs include the Art From Scrap Creative Reuse Store and Gallery, the Watershed Resource Center and the School Gardens Program. Visit ExploreEcology.org for more information.

Photos of La Honda STEAM Academy by Linda Martinson, Garden Educator

Photos of Moms Demand Action members by Katie Abbott Photography

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