Friday marked the opening of Adelante Charter School's new garden space, the product of a partnership with Explore Ecology and Leadership Santa Barbara County.

Ari Platcha

Friday marked the opening of Adelante Charter School's new garden space, the product of a partnership with Explore Ecology and Leadership Santa Barbara County.

Adelante Charter School Unveils New Garden Space

Explore Ecology, Leadership Santa Barbara County Join in Project

Adelante Charter School on Friday unveiled and showcased their new garden space to the Santa Barbara community with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The project was created in partnership with local nonprofits Leadership Santa Barbara County (LSBC) and Explore Ecology.

Ari Platcha

The elementary school students are already excited to grow fresh fruits and veggies, said garden educator Crystal Franco at the ribbon cutting event.

“We transformed a space that was under-resourced and -utilized, and turned it into something amazing,” said Scott Ericson of LSBC. Community members, school boardmembers, parents, and nonprofit leaders, celebrated the garden project with speeches by Alex Bereda of Explore Ecology and Juanita Hernandez, Adelante School Principal.

The “outdoor classroom” will enhance Explore Ecology’s School Garden Program, which seeks to provide experiential environmental education to schools throughout Santa Barbara County. Hernandez took the opportunity to discuss Adelante’s mission: a two-way language immersion program between English and Spanish, which uses cultural affirmations to build long-term K-12 academic success.

A garden tour followed the opening ceremony. Ericson presented to Hernandez a plaque thanking sponsors the Teacher’s Fund, Kidzmet, Allen Construction, Mandala Gardens, and Los Agaves Restaurant.

As students gifted handmade thank-you flower cards to attendees, Adelante Garden Educator Crystal Franco exclaimed how she already sees the positive effects of this garden on students. “Kids are talking to each other about how their watermelons are doing and how excited they are to see them grow and take them home. This project is making our students happier, healthier, and more engaged.”

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