Featured Article by Janaki Patel, Youth Education Coordinator
The Garden Party at the Aptitud Community Academy at Goss, with a goal to extend the school garden with a native plant area, went off without a hitch on the 18th of October. It was a perfect sunny day to plant some wonderful trees with a great community of people, who came together with visible high spirits and energy to make the planting goals happen. It was a true collaboration between many diverse community entities. We had many students, parents and siblings help out with the planting, as well as a good number of Aptitud faculty, including Principal Natasha Wexler and 8 teachers volunteer. OurCityForest (a local tree-planting nonprofit), led by Planting Program Manager Javier Ramirez, donated trees and shrubs, tools, and the valuable time of their planting experts. Another standout volunteer was Stephanie Morris, a professional native landscape designer, who donated the amazing design plan and directed the planting of all the other volunteers. This event would also not have been possible if it wasn’t for Suncrest Nursery of Watsonville donating a large quantity of native plants.
The total area of the garden has now doubled with the new planting, which highlights California’s native chaparral and oak woodland communities. The garden now features live oak and redbud trees, and a variety of chaparral plants, many of which are fragrant and with bright flowers or berries, including manzanita, California buckwheat, sage, California fuchsia, monkey flower, coyote mint, deer brush, and toyon. The native plant garden will be a tangible, hands-on aid to enhance the school’s educational objectives, particularly in ecological science. Benches and other forms of seating are in the works to make the place inviting and relaxing for both students and families.
The Aptitud school garden has a dedicated team of parents who sit on the “School Garden Team” and help with the maintenance and direction of the garden. This “Garden Party” is the most recent in the 2-year collaboration between Veggielution and the Aptitud school where past Garden Parties have brought many people together to implement projects to help develop the garden such as laying vegetable beds, creating a 3-part compost bin, building a shade structure and planting fruit trees. We hope to have many more projects as successful as this one!