Chula Vista district using gardens as classrooms for conservation

The Chula Vista Elementary School District is taking the lead in teaching students how to compost and preserve through gardening.

The district has 37 gardens on campuses throughout the South Bay, maintained by volunteer students, parents and teachers. Due to the climate crisis and state laws aimed at composting and conservation, school grounds are fertile learning grounds.

“They like to get their hands dirty and they like to be outside,” said Christopher Turner, a sixth-grade teacher at Chula Vista’s Myrtle S. Finney School. “There’s nothing more amazing than looking into their eyes when they bite into something they’ve planted themselves and watched grow.”

Chula Vista Elementary School District is the state’s largest elementary school district with 49 campuses and promotes sustainability through gardening.

Students learn by doing while developing social and emotional skills such as teamwork, communication and problem solving.

Finney Elementary’s playground lot was an eyesore five years ago.

“There were broken benches and a lot of debris. In fact, it was dangerous for children to be here,” Michelle Posada told KPBS News.

Posada sent her three children to Finney Elementary School and continues the school’s gardening. She started promoting her environmental education and action in her 2018.

Now she is called Garden Mama.

“If we can teach students about composting and organic waste from cafeterias and reuse it in their gardens, if we can send less to landfill, we can make a big impact,” Posada said. I got

Amsi Gonzalez Lopez, 10, and Emma Velázquez, 7, inspect cocoons on one of the garden screens at Finney Elementary School in Chula Vista, California, January 18, 2023.

Amsi Gonzalez-Lopez, 10, a 5th grader at Finney, appreciates a garden for her mental health.

“When you’re not feeling well, you can come to the garden without anyone disturbing you. The garden is a peaceful place where you can look at nature without worrying about anything,” says Gonzalez López. I got

“Chula Vista Elementary School has recognized the relationship between student health and learning,” said superintendent Dr. Eduardo Reyes. “We are committed to providing a school environment that promotes good health for all our students. District-wide school gardens are important in promoting healthy eating habits and encouraging physical activity. It’s playing its part.”

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