Oak School has three separate educational gardens. The quarter-acre Native Plant/ Creative Play Garden was completed in August 2005 and features California native species such as redwood, incense cedar, big leaf maple, western sycamore, western redbud, valley and coast live oak, and buckeye trees and an extensive array of bushes, grasses and flowers representative of several California Native Plant communities. With meandering paths, boulders, a sand play pit, play area, a redwood amphitheater, and an old fashioned hand-pump and dry creek bed, this is a popular play area during recess as well as a valuable educational garden used for the study of ecology and habitats. The garden and neighboring redwood trees also provide an official Western Bluebird Trail and features cavity nester bird boxes, which are monitored each spring by students. The boxes have been used by many bluebird and chickadee families! The garden is also an official Certified Wildlife Habitat site by the National Wildlife Federation. The Oak Edible Garden is a separate garden near the lunch tables equipped with irrigated planter boxes, planter beds, and a greenhouse. It is used for classroom experiments as well as supervised activities during lunchtime called the "Nature Zone" run by parent volunteers. At the Nature Zone, students plant, harvest and eat the food they grow. Lastly, a small Kindergarten garden includes a few planter boxes and a teepee for growing beans and peas. Food waste is recycled through vermicomposting (worms) and the worm castings are then used to enrich the soil.
Gardner Bullis School has a beautiful new native plant and planter box garden behind the office and library which includes shade and sun plants used for habitatm ecology and ethnobotany lessons and 6 planter boxes for use by the upper grades. There are also two two small educational gardens--one for grades K/1 which features raised planter boxes for edibles, a teepee for growing vine plants such as grapes, beans and peas, two espaliered fruit trees (apple and pear), and mosaic stepping stones made by students. This garden is used for many Living Classroom lessons and will offer a bounty of fresh vegetables and fruit. The grade 2/3 garden includes an area for growing winter wheat and tomatoes which are used for Living Classroom lessons and mounds for California Native American Indian "3 Sisters" gardens and native plants used by the Native Americans.
Loyola School boasts a popular "Secret Garden" featuring raised planter boxes in a circular pattern, windmill, a garden dome which grows gourds in the spring/summer and sweet peas in the fall/winter, several garden play areas, a compost and vermicompost area, a butterfly/hummingbird garden, and sensory garden. Additional features include a shaded seating area with a trellis and a labyrinth constructed. At lunchtime parent and community volunteers offer students activities in the garden such as planting, harvesting, saving seeds, composting, and garden maintenance. The Native Habitat Garden features plants from the chaparral, redwood, oak woodland, and riparian plant communities and is used for life science lessons and Native American studies. It also includes a dry creek bed and pathway for wheelchair accessibility. There are also a series of mini gardens along the breezeway running through the classroom wings planted with native plants, plants used by Native Americans, and pollinator/beneficial insect attracting plants. In addition, many other classroom planter boxes are used for Living Classroom lessons.
The Almond School Native Habitat garden, located just behind the office and multipurpose room, was completed in May 2009 and features plants from the chaparral, oak woodland and grassland plant communities. It includes Blue Oak, California Buckeye and Western Redbud tress, many colorful shrubs and flowers, a seating bench, dry creek bed, wheelchair accessible pathway and an observation posting area for student plant and wildlife observations. This garden was primarily funded through a rebate by the Santa Clara Valley Water District because water thirsty grass was removed and replaced with drought tolerant native plants. This garden is used for a wide range of life science lessons in multiple grades and serves as a quiet place to observe the plants and the wildlife it attracts such as butterflies, hummingbirds and bees. All classroom planter boxes are planted for Living Classroom lessons as well.
Completed in August 2008, this garden features planter boxes arranged in the form of a butterfly and dragonfly and many other raised beds to accommodate a large bounty of fruits, vegetables and herbs. The garden features many edibles outside the planter boxes including fruit trees, grape, passion fruit and kiwi vines, blueberries and strawberries. A designer quality outdoor kitchen with granite countertops and working sink allows for easy preparation of fresh food dishes during the lunchtime recess garden program while two beautiful mosaic round tables with tree stump seating provide a place to enjoy the food from the garden or a game of checkers or chess! A greenhouse is used for students to grow seedlings of all types for the garden and to sell aduring an annual plant sale. A creative play space with a hand-pump, creek bed and wooden arch bridge is set amidst California native plants which are featured all around the garden on mounds. A shaded outdoor seating area large enough to accommodate an entire class and a one of a kind hand painted garden shed are additional features. A new greenhouse is used to grow seedlings, two mosaic topped tables provide outdoor work space and a undulating brick seating wall is topped with wonderful quotes about gardens. Springer School's garden features all key elements of the Living Classroom garden in one 7,000 square foot area. Construction of the garden involved tearing out approximately 2,900 feet of blacktop!
Santa Rita School has three small native plant gardens used for lessons on habitats, pollination, and Native American studies. One of these gardens features mature redwood trees, which also provides a quiet, shady place for first graders to play. Two other native plant gardens adorn the campus filled with over 3 dozen species of plants. Classroom planter boxes are planted in the themes of Native Americans, Ancient Civilizations, American Colonial, and Pollinator/Beneficial Insects. The lunchtime Ecology Club helps take care of these gardens and monitors the Western Bluebird boxes in the spring among other worthy activities.