The initiative, which commemorates the 75th anniversary of OSH, supports California schools by creating hands-on learning experiences.
Nearly 300 schools throughout California applied to participate in the OSH School Gardens Program. Each of OSH's 86 stores will partner with a selected local school and donate up to $1,000 in supplies, plants, tools and other materials, as well as gardening expertise, to help create and maintain the gardens. Schools also will receive curriculum packets, prepared by the California Department of Education, to facilitate successful program implementation in the classroom and in the garden.
OSH selected Bel Air based on the strength of its school garden curriculum, its school-wide commitment to develop and use the garden, its plan to sustain the garden as a valuable educational tool, and the broad involvement of students and staff in the program. Promoted by the California departments of Education and Food and Agriculture as a valuable learning tool, school gardens can be used to teach children lessons in life sciences, reading, history, math and spatial skills. They can also help foster good health as children learn the links between plants, gardening, food and health.
In September, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into legislation California Assembly Bill No. 1535 (the Nunez Bill), which devotes $15 million for instructional school garden programs. "The goals of both the OSH School Gardens Program and the state's new bill are similar and can be leveraged to help provide and sustain school gardens as a powerful instructional tool," said OSH President and CEO Rob Lynch.
Among the other schools in Contra Costa County that have been selected to participate in the OSH School Gardens Program is Lone Tree Elementary School in Antioch.