Help a garden grow at an East Bay school


For third graders at Palma Ceia Elementary, digging holes and planting trees takes muscle power and a love for the environment.

Perhaps student Jasmine Munoz describes it best.

"You need to plant things in the garden, so you can make life better," says Munoz.

It's not only about planting trees and flowers, it's also about learning all the other elements that contribute to a successful garden.

"I want them to be able to understand that by eating plants means that they need to respect the plants -- how they grow, what goes into the ground, what is in the air that the plants are taking in and converting through photosynthesis to provide us with oxygen," says James Kidder who teaches at Palma Ceia Elementary in Hayward.

Kidder wants to expand his garden by purchasing more plants and books on their life cycles. The cost is $220. He's counting on This is how it works -- teachers post their projects online, hoping to get funded by donors like you.

"I like planting because it's good for mother nature," says student Eric Garcia.

And respecting her is something they practice every day.

"When they see a ladybug, they won't step on it. They'll say, 'Oh you're a pollinator,' or they'll see a lovely piece of mint growing and say, 'Oh I can put you in my lemonade," says Kidder.

By teaching these students about gardening, he has also pulled in some of their parents who now volunteer. One of them is Alex Quintero, himself a gardener. Quintero remembers the first time his son took notice of what he did for a living.

"So I showed him that dad really cares, not only for him, but for the environment and for the school," says Quintero.

Kidder's students are also learning the nutritional value of a garden and that there is life after fast food.

To view Palma Ceia's proposal and to donate, click here.

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