Garden Club of Santa Barbara Awards Grant to Keep Explore Ecology’s School Gardens Growing

Garden Club of Santa Barbara Awards Grant To Explore Ecology School Gardens Program
Provides Irrigation Updates and Training for 30 School Gardens“>
Santa Barbara: Explore Ecology has been awarded a $12,250 grant from the Garden Club of Santa Barbara to support irrigation updates and training in thirty school gardens. With current drought conditions, efficient irrigation systems have never been more important. The grant ensures that the Explore Ecology School Gardens Program can continue to provide Santa Barbara County students the opportunity to receive outdoor education in well-tended, beautiful school gardens.

(Garden Club Members)

Alex Bereda, Director of Explore Ecology’s School Gardens Program, says, “The beauty of the school garden is that it’s a place on campus where students connect with nature, a place where students learn and have fun. Thanks to the Garden Club of Santa Barbara, we now look forward to another wonderful year in the garden!”

With over 4,000 school gardens blossoming in California alone, research shows that children who grow their own food tend to eat more fruits and vegetables, have a greater understanding of ecology, and receive higher test scores in science.

The Explore Ecology School Gardens Program currently serves approximately 10,000 elementary age students in 30 schools. Fourteen Garden Educators provide lessons in each garden, teaching students about composting, organic gardening, nutrition, healthy food choices, and science.

Garden Educator Bennett Rock says, “Students have fun with hands on learning and don’t even realize they’ve just achieved core academic standards.”

The Garden Club of Santa Barbara has supported school gardens since the early 1900’s. One of their first projects in 1917 was to donate seeds to schools. Explore Ecology is the only project they have supported on an annual basis since early 2000.

Vicky Strickland, Garden Club Member and Project Chair, says, “This year my committee visited many of the school gardens and were most impressed and came back most enthusiastic about what Explore Ecology is doing for our school children.”

For 25 years, Explore Ecology has been a vital force for garden education and has provided schools and youth groups gardening and composting lessons, teacher training, garden consultations, free seeds and seedlings, discounted composting worms, and a Garden Detectives Curriculum.

The Garden Club of Santa Barbara has generously provided steady support for Explore Ecology’s youth gardening programs for over fifteen years.

Alex Bereda says, “We truly appreciate the Garden Club’s gift of gardening for Santa Barbara’s youth and thank them for their generous funding over the years. We are very excited to partner with the Garden Club of Santa Barbara once again to educate and inspire future gardeners.”


About Explore Ecology: Explore Ecology is Santa Barbara County’s largest environmental education and arts nonprofit. A registered 501(c)(3), we provide free environmental education to school children grades K-6. Our programs include Art From Scrap, the Watershed Resource Center, and the School Gardens Program. Explore Ecology empowers people to protect and preserve the environment and inspires them to make smart choices that shape a better future. Explore Ecology has been growing informed and thoughtful citizens since 1990. Visit us at

About Garden Club of Santa Barbara: Founded in 1916, the Garden Club of Santa Barbara is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to encouraging the knowledge and enjoyment of gardening and flower arranging, to aid in the protection of native plants and wildlife, to encourage historic preservation, and to support civic beautification and planting


Jill Cloutier
Explore Ecology
805-884-0459 x13

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