Supports Curriculum

The Pinewood Legacy Garden will be presented to students and the community on October 25, 2016. LA’s BEST, a project partner, has contributed curriculum used in their other native garden projects for use once the project is complete.

Teachers will use the garden when teaching the science, social studies and health curriculum. The afterschool program will tend to the garden and teach students how to care for living things. The school’s Art teacher can incorporate the area when teaching students art.

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Environmental and Economic

Many of the positive environmental gains expected of this garden can be tracked in reduced operational costs. For example, when compared to traditional lawn spaces or gravelscapes, native gardens have been shown to save as much as:

• 100 percent of the toxic chemical fertilizer budget
• 100 percent of the toxic chemical pesticide budget
• 100 percent of the annual flower budget
• 100 percent of soil amendment budget
• 81 percent of the time spent on maintenance
• 75 percent of the funds used for mower fuel
• 60–80 percent of the water previously needed
• 63 percent of fees associated with garden waste
• 15–50 percent of the energy dedicated to climate control

These cost savings can be substantial. FormLA Landscaping estimates that native landscapes like the Pinewood Legacy Garden save $3000/year or more per 1000 square feet, quickly recouping the costs associated with their design and installation.

Student Health and Wellness

The same choices that save us time, money and water at home can also set our kids up for success at school. Many of the problems students face are amplified by the built environment, and they can be mitigated by the addition of lush and leafy garden space. In addition to providing beautiful places to play, teach, and learn, school gardens can:

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Reduce Asthma and allergies: Sustainable landscapes reduce the incidence of asthma and allergies, which can be visible in school nurse visits and attendance.

Mitigate Stress: Visual and experiential access to verdant landscapes have been shown to reduce ADHD, increase focus and concentration, and facilitate stress resilience, even in those already experiencing PTSD.

Facilitate Play and Activity: Studies show garden renovation alone increases play and activity levels, but the type of playspace also matters. Children have experienced heat exhaustion playing on synthetic turf installed to save water at other LAUSD schools. In contrast with synthetics and other hardscape options, native landscapes cool spaces for play and introduce no toxins.

Reduce Obesity: In addition to increasing activity levels, the combination of edible gardens and nutrition-related curriculum increases children’s preference for healthy foods while increasing the availability of those foods.

Reduce Conflict: Green landscaping at schools has been tied to reduced vandalism, theft, and other crimes. It has also been shown to lessen in-classroom conflicts between students and teachers and between students. (Summary)

While verdant, natural space has been shown to benefit all people regardless of ages and incomes, there is evidence its impact is greater in low-income areas. Likewise, improvements to school spaces are more impactful than those in other community spaces or private gardens.

If you would like to help your school start a gardening program, there are great resources here in California! See: How to Start a School Garden, Let’s Move School Garden Checklist, and LA’s Best/Theodore Payne Foundation.