Granada Middle School Garden Project

Basic Information

Grade Level: 6-8
Address: 13452 Dunton Drive Whittier, CA 90605
Person of Contact: Almeda M. Rodriguez
Phone Number: 562-464-2358
Fax Number: 562-943-5413

Action Shots

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Additional Information

Student Size: 1180
Student/Teacher Ratio: 36:1
Number of Teachers: 46
Hours/Week: 32.5
Funding: Donations, Sales, Local, Grants
Gardens (Sq. Feet): approximately 1 acre for 1, and 532 sq. feet for another
Program Highlights:

We have two areas: one features native California plants and is a reading garden/outdoor classroom to be dedicated to one of our students who died of leukemia last year; the one-acre is a community garden featuring native and other vegetables, fruits, herbs, and aromatic plants. Long term goals include a greenhouse, water recycling system, worm farm, and pond for small fish and aquatic plants. This will also be an outdoor classroom space.

Mission Statement:

The Granada Middle School Garden Project's goal is to educate and motivate people about the many fun and useful benefits gardens can provide to our school and our community.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

The Granada Middle School Garden Project believes that in order to be a responsible, contributing member of society, one must find ways to give back. This garden project enables us to provide a service to not only our school, but the community as a whole.

Program History:

The Granada Middle School Garden Project began in September of 2011. Over the course of that year, to present, we have developed plans, a budget and received our first grant of $5000.00 from Lowe's Toolbox for Education. We will begin "breaking ground" by the end of September 2012.

Volunteer Participation: The Granada Middle School Garden Project has many different facets of our community represented. We have students, family members, staff, a local college (Whittier College), and local businesses working together. We have meetings, work days, and will have one Saturday a month for families to come work i the garden.
Program Information:


Dear Granada Community,
            We are the Granada Middle School Garden Project Club and our goal is to educate our community on the numerous benefits of gardening. To do this, we are planning on creating two beautiful, colorful, and "consumable" school gardens in an area  in front of our classroom that is currently filled with dirt and dead grass and an un-used area of the field behind our building. We want to transform these locations into places of inspiration.
            For "Phase One - El Jardin De Granada" we are envisioning plenty of colorful flowers, foliage, and a majestic tree, using all native California plants to help conserve water and energy and to restore local bird and insect eco-systems. This wonderful place will be dedicated in the memory of our seventh grade student, Patrick, who died of leukemia June 8, 2012. "Phase Two - Conservando El Medio Ambiente con Nuestro Jardin" will be a community garden with culinary, medicinal, and aromatic plants and trees. We will again use as many native plants as possible here. Both areas will provide highly-motivating learning opportunities in multiple curricular areas and will be "outdoor classrooms". Luckily, we have a lot of community interest, ideas, and enthusiasm.
            This is an exciting undertaking and already have support from Lowe's and Whittier College. Last year we applied for and received a grant of $5000.00 from Lowe's Toolbox for Education. We will be striving to raise additional funds with fundraisers, and help from our Associated Student Body and Parent, Teacher, and Student Association; we will also continue to apply for available grants to supplement this project. We have the will and the way, but not all of the means--yet.
            Last year we were honored to be gifted with five ornamental cherry blossom trees by the Huntington Botanical Gardens in conjunction with the Japanese Consulate General of Los Angeles in celebration of the 2012 Japan-United States Cherry Blossom Centennial. If you would also like to help, we would love donations in the form of money or discounts, tools and supplies, plants, bulbs, and seeds, building materials, manpower, and anything else you think could enhance our garden. This will be an ongoing project, so our needs will never end. Any assistance you may provide would be greatly appreciated. All donors will be acknowledged on our website and businesses providing assistance will be advertised on the site.
            Look for our website link on the Granada Middle School website home page:  Here you can see our calendar of events and you can follow our progress. You may also email us via Mrs. Rodriguez at We look forward to sharing our garden with you.
Granada Middle School
Garden Project Club


Granada Middle School Garden Project Club 2011-2014 Overview
Contact Information:
Granada Middle School
15337 Lemon Drive
Whittier, CA 90605
(562)464-2330 Fax: (562)943-5413
Grades 6-8 Public School
East Whittier City School District
Principal: Kathy Tryon
Site Coordinators:                Almeda M. Rodriguez (ext.2358)   
                                                 LeeAnn Tafoya
                                                Loraine Hammonds - Fundraising Coordinator   
                                                Michael Lawrence - Webpage Coordinator
                                                Gil Mays - Maintenance Coordinator
Student Officers:                                          
                                                Dolores Gutierrez - ASB Student Liaison
Community Liaisons:            Juliette Cagigas
                                                Natale Zappia, Ph.D.
Number of Students: 1114 (2011-12 data)
School Ethnicity:                   Caucasian - 27%
                                                African American - 1%
                                                Hispanic - 66%
                                                Asian - 3%
                                                American Indian - 1%
                                                Other - 2%
Percentage of Subsidized Lunches: 44%
Tax ID# 95-6001046
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. We are part of the earth and it is part of us.
                                                                                                                                     ~ Chief Seattle
One Inspiring Project ~ Two Areas of Wonder:
Phase One - El Jardin Hermoso De Granada - Granada's Beautiful Garden
            We have a vision of turning an outdoor space into an inviting place to read and study. It will also be a showplace for California native trees, shrubs, and other plants that will help teach our students and community about water and energy conservation, and how to help preserve the local insect and bird eco-systems through native landscaping.
            This area is currently approximately 532 square feet of weeds and dirt that, with staff, student, and community participation, will be converted into a beautiful garden of inspiration and pride in our environment and its worth.
            Covering an equal amount of space adjacent to this landscaping, a pergola with flowering vines will be constructed, beneath which tables and benches will invite even more students and staff to enjoy learning while absorbing the beauty of nature. This area will serve as an outdoor learning and reading area for the school.
            Staff, students, and community members will be involved from conception to completion. Ongoing maintenance of the garden will provide long-lasting appreciation and participation for years to come. In June 2013, we will host a dedication ceremony where we will dedicate this garden to our beloved seventh grade student, Patrick, who died of leukemia on June 8, 2012.
Cost Analysis and Timeline Phase One:
Estimated Cost:
            Stage One:
            Topsoil/mulch - $300.00
            Tree/s, shrubs, plants - $1000.00
            Paving Stones - $200.00
            Stone Bench and Birdbath - $400.00
            Topiary materials - $100.00
                        Total: $2000.00
            Stage Two:
            Pergola - $3000.00
            6 Tables with attached Benches - $3500.00
                        Total $6,500.00
Estimated Timeline 2012-2013:
                        September - October:
                                    Landscape design and planning
                                    Bed and soil preparation
                        November: Landscaping and planting
                        January - February:
                        March - May  
                                    Pergola built and vine/s planted     
                                    Tables/benches ordered, delivered, and installed
                                    Official Dedication Ceremony
Phase Two - Conservando El Medio Ambiente: Empieza con Nuestro Jardin - Conserving the Environment: It Begins With Our Garden
            Covering approximately one acre of space of currently unused field area, a school-community garden will be developed. Again, students, staff, and community members will be involved in all stages: planning and development; installment and building; planting, harvesting, and maintenance; curriculum can be taught/developed/utilized that includes California State Standards in Science as well as other core content areas, using the space as an outdoor classroom.
            Our vision includes installation of an irrigation system, ten to twelve 3X6X2 raised beds for native aromatic, culinary, and medicinal plants, other vegetable and fruit crops, an herb garden, a greenhouse for starter seeds/crops, a small orchard of ten to twenty fruit and/or nut-bearing trees and/or shrubs, a compost center, worm farm, and a renewable water-tank system and storage shed. We will also have canvas shade-covering over tables and benches for a study/learning/activity center.
            This project will be of benefit to our Granada community in many ways, besides just being an incredible place of inspiration and learning. For those families interested, there will be the privilege of signing up to work in the garden, or contribute in other ways, and then be able to harvest the crops to take home for consumption and use. With this, comes the ability to create/share recipes using ingredients from our garden and also the experience of introducing native foods into their diet. Not only is this fun, but it's a chance to help our families who are struggling through these challenging economic times, while enabling them to maintain their sense of pride and self-worth while fostering energy conservation and a healthy eco-system.
            Along with our experiences with horticulture (the science of soil and seed preparation) and agriculture (the cultivation of plants for consumption), a compost center will also be constructed and maintained. In addition, we will farm worms and investigate other similar activities to pursue that will enhance our garden and educational activities.
            Although this is a large multiple-year endeavor, we have already secured partnerships with at least one local business, Lowe's Improvement Store, and with nearby Whittier College. Both are willing to provide assistance in making the gardens a reality. In addition, we have a number of parents expressing interest and a willingness to help. Our students and staff will have the opportunity to work with experts in gardening, environmentalism, and the numerous science-related and educational topics this project supports. Earth and life science California State Standards can be supported through this project as well as other curriculums. Since many of the plants will be native, the social studies teachers can utilize the outdoor garden when teaching about the Native Americans. Language arts and the musical arts and creative arts classes can use the garden as a place of inspiration. Even the math department can create lessons around the growth rates of the plants and even do advanced activities in statistics and probability. Wow! The potential uses and benefits this project will provide are limitless; it will be amazing to watch the kids and community experience nature and pro-active environmentalism at its best.
            With the state and federal budgets in the condition they are, school districts around the nation have had to be very creative in cost-cutting measures. Some schools are even "deserting" their campuses and taking out landscaping because of the cost of watering and maintenance. It would be a shame to see our green spaces become cement or gravel pits. It is the hope that our project will enlighten people as to the ways of landscaping with native plants. This way we do not lose the beauty of nature around us, but actually help it thrive and return the land we have inherited, back to the way it once was. We want to be an inspiration and role-model to homeowners, businesses, and certainly other schools in our community; they can visit us and discover the great things they can do with their environs to help them and the earth.
Cost Analysis and Timeline Phase Two:
Estimated Cost:
            Stage One:
            Material/hardware for 12 raised beds @ 3X6X2 - $1000.00
            Vegetable/planting-ready soil - $1000.00
            Irrigation system - $1000.00
            Tree/s, shrubs, plants, seeds - $2000.00
            Sand/gravel/pavers - $1000.00
            Compost center enclosure fencing/hardware - $500.00
            Fencing - $1000.00
                        Total: $7,500.00
            Stage Two:
            Shed/workspace - $3000.00
            Greenhouse - $2000.00
            Water recycling system - $1000.00
                        Total: $6,000.00
            Stage Three:
            Canvas Shade-covering and installation - $1000.00
            6 Tables with attached benches - $3500.00
                        Total: $4,500.00
            Stage Four:
            Pond system for aquatic plants and fish - $1000.00
                        Total: $1,000.00
                        Total $19,000.00
Estimated Timeline 2011-2014:
                        September 2011- February 2013:
                                    Fundraising - Received $5000.00 from Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant in                                                                       May 2012
                                    Water access preparation
                                    Basic planning of beds and walkways
                                    Stage One:
                                                Basic construction of beds and walkways
                                                Construction of compost center and worm-farm area
                                                Bed and soil preparation of beds
                                                Initial landscaping and planting
                        March 2013 - September 2014:
                                    Stage Two:
                                                Continue landscape design, planning, and planting of                                                                                                     "orchard"                                                       
                                                Continue landscape design and planning of greenhouse                                                                                                location and "classroom" area
                                                Protective fencing constructed
                        October 2014 - March 2015:
                                    Stage Three:
                                                Greenhouse and shed/workspace built
                                                Tables/benches ordered, delivered, and installed
                                                Water recycling system ordered, delivered, and installed
                        April 2015 - May 2015:
                                    Stage Four:
                                                Pond system for aquatic plants and fish built
                        June 2015:
                                    Official Opening Ceremony