West Coast Educating For Sustainabilty

It’s not easy making the transition from California springtime to New England mud season. I recently traveled from Los Angeles to Napa, visiting schools, meeting with teachers, and talking up Educating for Sustainability (EFS). I am pleased to report that EFS is alive and well in many California locales.

The Environmental Charter High School in Los Angeles integrates sustainability into every facet of their facility and curriculum they can manage, including repurposing a concrete patio into a green  space and using the detritus to build an outdoor amphitheater.ECHS

Place-based learning is at the core of a middle school project in Santa Cruz where students designed and installed mosaics depicting local flora and fauna on a bridge over the local watershed and at Washington Elementary in Santa Barbara where students’ ceramic tiles create a backdrop for the school garden.


Fifth and sixth graders at Pacific Elementary School in Davenport work in teams to prepare locally making_lasagnesourced food for the school’s daily lunch program.

SFUSD gardenSchool gardens are ubiquitous in California. From the Open Alternative School in Santa Barbara to the urban green spaces in San Francisco, schools are integrating gardens into the curriculum.  With the help of organizations like Education Outside a first grade class pulls up garden plants to learn about drawing science diagrams, third graders harvest kale to crisp and snack on, and afterschool programs explore life cycles by tending native plantings.

OAS gardenSystemic change is evident through the work of organizations like the Center for Ecoliteracy and the commitment of the San Francisco Unified School District to Greening the Next Generation and creating an administrative position for… Ecoliteracy Content Specialist!

Check out these innovative EFS schools and organizations through the links at the top of this blog page.

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