Over 500 Students Visited Learning Garden Since September 2019

College Hill Learning Garden has been busy this school year with over 500 students visiting the garden on field trips since September 2019.

The SFPUC began directly managing the Learning Garden’s site and programs in late August after the closure of the nonprofit grantee, Education Outside, last summer. Since that transition, the garden has coordinated over twenty free school field trips, four days of training for new school-garden educators, partnered with John O’Connell classes to build their own worm composting bins, provided green infrastructure tours of the site, and collaborated with the CommunityGrows BEETS (Band of Environmentally Educated and Employable Teens) program to host their second community Halloween party with over a hundred ghoulish guests.

Second graders from SF Friends School visit College Hill Learning Garden to learn about watersheds and urban watershed stewardship.
SFPUC College Hill Learning Garden Coordinator Danny Palmer (center) speaking to a group of students.

The College Hill Learning Garden is an education and demonstration garden designed to teach local students about how they can help cities transition to ecologically friendly water, food, energy, and waste systems. The site’s infrastructure was designed in conjunction with its unique curriculum, known as the Urban Stewards Program, and offers a range of site-based, hands-on learning experiences to support students’ understanding of our Bay Area resources and their role in sustaining them.

When requesting a field trip, teachers can choose from topics like “Our Healthy Watersheds,” “Urban Food Systems,” “Full Cycle-Zero Waste,” “Power in the City,” and “Our Shared Habitat.” Educators at the Learning Garden can then adapt the lesson outcomes and activities to appropriately suit the age, group size, and specific learning needs. Classes are welcome to attend just one field trip, or they can choose a series of topics to build upon over multiple visits. Now in its third year of full time programming, many schools and classes have made visits to College Hill Learning Garden a recurring event each year– such as the Green Academy classes at Lincoln High School (part of the Career Technical Education Academy) and classes from nearby Paul Revere Elementary School.

Field trips are free to all SFUSD classes and organizations supporting SFUSD students, as are the community events hosted throughout the year. More information and a calendar can be found on the College Hill Learning Garden webpage.

Students built a watershed model using garden materials and then added mud, leaves and soapy water to represent erosion litter and chemical pollutants.
After learning about soil health and decomposition, Paul Revere students help sift finished compost from our bins to add to the veggie beds in the Learning Garden