EarthLab Demo Gardens Thriving Thanks to CNPS-SD Mini-Grant

By Kay Stewart, Mini Grant coordinator with EarthLab Demo Gardens

The Groundwork EarthLab Education and Climate Action Center is a 4-acre site adjacent to Millennial Tech Middle School, at the junction of Euclid Ave and Highway 94. EarthLab is the creation of GroundWorks San Diego, a not-for-profit organization founded to teach San Diego children and their families how we can all enhance the earth’s ability to nurture life. CNPS-SD member Bruce Hanson helped found the organization in 2010.

EarthLab is divided into realms of the benign human/nature interfaces. A half-acre is growing organic crops. Another half-acre is a nursery for native plants used for canyon restoration projects. A small creek is cared for as a linkage for wildlife living in the Chollas Creek watershed. UCSD students have aquaculture and solar energy outdoor teaching labs in another area. And a quarter- acre has ornamental gardens with low-water plants. As this neighborhood is modified the Demo Gardens will be open to a walking route connecting North and South Encanto/Webster neighborhoods. Its mission is to become a beautiful site for teaching people how to have their own backyard native plant habitats and fruit trees for their own tables.

Mid-spring this year, grants from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and a $500 CNPS San Diego mini-grant awarded in 2016 bought native and drought-tolerant non-native plants. Volunteers from the US Navy, Coast Guard, and the community, and fifth-graders from local schools, planted a large portion of four gardens plans that were designed by CNPS-SD chapter members Scott Jones, David Clarke, Connie Beck, and Kay Stewart.

This month, October, the organizers will host a second planting party to infill areas that were left unplanted last spring. The organizers were granted a second $500 mini-grant by CNPS-SD to buy the native plants. On Saturday, October 28, 2017, 8:30 to noon, come join other volunteers to give these plants a great start in the EarthLab.

To learn more about this project, to volunteer, and to make donations or otherwise participate to support its work, see: http://groundworksandiego.org/.