Capitola Soquel Times: June 2022

Page 12


Fifth Graders Create Garden to Learn



By Carissa Lemos, principal, Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary

he once-underutilized 4,000-square foot entrance to Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary School is now a community garden designed and created by fifth grade students and showcased to the community in May. In 2022, the school launched the SAGE Program (Science And Garden Emphasis) to increase students’ inquiry-based learning, understanding of nutrition, environmental stewardship, and connection to nature. The fifth grade students were asked how they could help students learn about and connect with science and nature. They took the lead in dreaming up the SAGE Garden, envisioning a thriving outdoor learning space for students and the community to learn about plants, connect with nature and each other. They worked together to create a plan including researching and mapping out different zones of plants, figuring out the budget, designing a buddy bench, creating the garden design, and helping to raise funding from grants, local nurseries, and donors to make it happen. Parker, one of the students, said “By the end of our research, you can see how much we learned about budgeting, the needs of individual plants, the types of materials that would be long lasting and affordable for this project, and true collaboration. We even learned some serious math skills!” “Grease” from page 9

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Of course, the power of Grease is that the music is accepting of everyone at any age. Under those two umbrellas, there is a lot to play with and a lot of fun to be had, especially with our amazingly talented cast.” The choreography will be original (though you might recognize a bit of the hand-jive). Cassie guarantees that this production will have the same song and dance numbers you love, but also offer plenty of surprises. She wants the audience to feel

The garden was a passion project for fifth grade teacher Brian Boyce, who got full support from fellow fifth grade teacher Aaron Reisman. Over several Saturdays this spring, students organized garden workdays with over 75 teachers, students, and their families. The students led teams that put nearly 100 plants in the ground within each garden zone: Natives, drought tolerant, sensory, and edible plant zones. Most if not all of the plants came via donations from Central Home Supply, Graniterock, Suncrest, Dig Gardens, San Lorenzo Lumber, The Garden Company, Mountain Feed and Farm Supply, Alladin Nursery, Sierra Azul Nursery and Garden., and a grant from the Whole Kids Foundation, Students and families across all grade levels worked together to build a buddy bench, spread mulch, and lay down gravel pathways. A n o t h e r student, Ella, said “Our fifth grade legacy project is our way of giving back to the learning community that has helped nurture us just as we will all nurture these plants we plant together.” Silas, another fifth grader, said, “We envision this legacy project being built on by future fifth graders! This is just the beginning for this community project.” Jarixa said, “After our entire audio tour was created, we realized we wanted to translate each plant description into Spanish. Me and several other fifth graders who are both nostalgic and inspired by this fresh take on a familiar story. Grease runs Thursday through Sunday, June 23, through July 10 at the Cabrillo Crocker Theater on the Cabrillo College campus in Aptos. Tickets may be purchased individually or at a discounted rate for the season, which includes Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. Tickets are currently available online at The Box Office opens for phone and walk-in sales Thursday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. beginning June 3. n