Chaparral Hawks Health Garden
Chaparral Hawks Health Garden is a beautiful and vibrant outdoor learning space built in 2015 that serves all 850+ students. Named to emphasize healthy outdoor learning and nutrition, it is an organic fruit, vegetable, and flower garden with 8 raised beds, 4 fruit trees, a pollinator garden, a succulent bed, a native trail, compost and weather stations, and seated learning spaces.
The garden program brings teachers and students year-round in this outdoor classroom to learn standards-based STEM lessons, led by a garden and science Artist in Residence, and aided by parent volunteers we call the Garden Corps. Lessons are aligned with NGSS and Common Core standards, and among other subjects include botany, entomology, chemistry, animal studies, weather, social studies, and hands-on math. Lessons also include nutritional tastings, a fun highlight and important takeaway of being in the outdoor classroom. The Hawks Health Garden Native Trail serves as an on-campus field trip, with its hike focused on the indigenous Kumeyaay people of our area and native plant examples and information on how they were used.
During non-lesson time, the garden serves as a sanctuary for classes to wander and wonder, to use for writing or art inspiration, as a shaded outdoor space to finish classwork, or to decompress for brain breaks. During some recesses, the garden is supervised as place where students can take part in helpful chores, to visit with like-minded friends, or to reflect and study nature.
Studies show that the great benefits of hands-on learning in school gardens are lifelong and not only improve education, physical health and mental health, but also build character in respecting and nurturing community spaces and our natural resources. The Hawks Health Garden is supported by a team of wonderful volunteers and financially by parent donations, community donations, and grants.
For more information, to donate, or to join the Garden Corps volunteers, please contact teacher and garden lead Nancy Bellinghiere-Hall at [email protected] For current information and photos, follow facebook.com/ChaparralGarden