CAN! Dinosaur Garden

Dinosaur Garden

What is a Dinosaur Garden?

The James Lick Middle School Dinosaur Garden is being created to help make tangible connections for people about the earth’s changing climate.

The changes that the earth is currently going through aren’t new.  The manner by which the greenhouse gases are entering the atmosphere are new, however.  But the levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been higher than they are now, and will continue to grow as we continue to burn fossil fuels.

The trees planted in the Dinosaur Garden are examples of trees that lived millions of years ago during the Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous and periods.  When Ginkgo bilobas evolved (beginning in the Permian period, then dominating much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Cretaceous period) there were higher levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  The same goes for Sequoias, Norfolk Island and Cook Island Pines, Podocarpus and other species of plants showcased in the JLMS Dinosaur Garden.

Youth will have the opportunity to plant out these ancient trees and plants.  Learning all the while that there is currently around 400 parts per million of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  But when these resilient trees dominated the earth there was as much as 7,000 parts per million carbon dioxide (during the Cambrian period).

These ancient trees are resilient and can handle higher levels of Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, just as there was back millions of years ago.  This resilience is an inspiration that life will continue and that these students can become resilient themselves!

James Lick Middle School Dinosaur Garden

The DINOSAUR GARDEN @ James Lick Middle School will boast ancient plants like Ginkgo biloba, Araucaria and Cycads.  We want to build a recycled metal triceratops climbing structure by Karen Cusolito, and in May of 2017 facilitated a mural project that the youth co-created with local artist Sirron Norris.   Recycled glass trilobites created by Ivan Lee Mora will crawl along the ground building the dialogue about decomposers and carbon cycling during the Cambrian period.

Please spread the word to help us raise funds to fund this educational garden that will remind all of us how the climate has changed before and how we humans are helping to change it again.

James Lick Middle School

James Lick Middle School

(JLMS) is one of the CAN! flagship school sites.

James Lick Middle School (JLMS) is one of the CAN! flagship school sites. Our partnership with the James Lick community began in 2015 with the CAN! Youth Ecological Stewardship program, funded by the SFPUC.

Approach

Curriculum and environmental programming at James Lick was different than our other sites.  Previously CAN! staff had worked almost exclusively with Science Department teachers.  JLMS Social Studies team was our primary partner.   JLMS Social Studies Department’s longstanding  Environmental Justice curriculum was in direct dialogue with our ecological curriculum.

All 8th graders at JLMS participate in a tour of the Cesar Chavez home in Bakersfield, learning about farm worker movements here in California, the history of Dolores Huerta, Larry Itliong, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers movement.  CAN! deepened our Environmental Justice curriculum in partnership with the school teachers, including education about organics, pesticides and other petroleum-based chemicals in agriculture, farmworker health and California watersheds in the 6th-8th-grade lessons.  This intersectionality of the CAN! the curriculum has since been expanded to our other partner sites.

About the project

Located in Noe Valley, the school site is an entire city block.  When CAN! began working with the school community, the entire schoolyard was covered in asphalt and cement.  We knew that if we were to continue working with the school site we’d have to raise funds to remove pavement and build out educational gardens in the yard.

Spearheading fundraising for the school beginning in 2015 with a grant ($43,000) from the SF Carbon Fund, for pavement removal and tree planting at James Lick.  But there was a problem.  One of the layers of the asphalt at the school contained asbestos and we quickly realized that our funding wasn’t going to be nearly enough.

Support

We worked hard to find more resources for the school’s greening.  Later in the summer of 2016, the funding more than doubled with the generosity of then, District 8 Supervisor, Scott Weiner. Supervisor Weiner’s generous donation ($50,000) to the District permitted CAN! to continue planning, fundraising and project coordination of the site.  Now a California State Senator, Scott Weiner, continues to support progressive environmental and social progress at the State level.  Indeed, Senator Weiner has supported CAN! since 2013 with his office’s investment in greening at the Thomas Edison Charter Academy K-8 School also located in Noe Valley.

But our plans for greening kept growing and we continued to seek funding for site development, which came in the form of a Community Challenge Grant ($100,000) in the fall of 2016.  This funding more than doubled both of the previous investments and we passed $200,000 in funds for site greening.  This generosity, combined with thousands of dollars of investment from neighbors, CAN! fundraisers and other grant support (including an SFPA Action Grant of $5,000 for design services) brought us to where we are today.

And, after years of community building, fundraising and developing multi-agency partnerships, we were ecstatic when, in the summer of 2017, 3,126 square feet of pavement was successfully removed in the school’s upper yard.

The greening of the James Lick Middle School wasn’t easy but was a huge success for all of our investors, neighbors, teachers, administrators and especially students.

Present Day

To date, CAN! successfully raised about $240,000 to develop outdoor educational gardens in the JLMS upper yard.  Check out the plans here for the CAN!-JLMS Organic Vegetable Garden which include over 300 ft2 of raised wooden vegetable beds, a 440 ft2 Outdoor Kitchen Pavilion, benches, a dry creek bed a pollinator garden, a Black Lives Matter garden and a cloud forest garden.  The other garden in the upper yard is the Dinosaur Garden, filled with ancient trees and plants, which have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.

With the upper yard greening underway, and our fundraising efforts have begun for the lower yard.  Leading the development of the lower yard, District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy has provided the first installment of funding of $25,000.  This donation is significant, and we look forward to working with the City, neighbors and local businesses to raise an additional $150,000 for development of the JLMS lower yard where we plan to remove an additional 2,600 ft2 of pavement building out a Performance Stage, a Peace Garden, a Mindfulness Garden and various other features.  To learn more about this project, email us.

Washington High School

WASHINGTON HIGH SCHOOL

Washington High School

Thanks to funds from the District 1 Office of SF Supervisor Supervisor Sandra Fewer and Supervisor Eric Mar in 2015-2016 andCAN! has been able to offer George Washington High School (GWHS) students a chance to cultivate (and eat) their own organic vegetables and even honey.

Students participate in habitat restoration garden activities on campus as well as planning culturally engaging activities for fellow students, staff and the larger community to become more physically active, healthy and earth-conscious.  George Washington High School is a huge campus (4 city blocks) and the school boasts over 2,300 students.  CAN! is planting roots at George Washington High, cultivating youth leadership and expanding into the Richmond District with the Richmond District Sidewalk Garden Project.  With the CAN! Green Jobs program, GWHS students have performed outreach for the Richmond District Sidewalk Garden Project while learning valuable skills in outreach, community engagement, communication, planning, design and horticulture.

Support the CAN! garden programs today and help us expand at GWHS.

Green Jobs for Youth

GREEN JOBS FOR YOUTH

Green Jobs for Youth

In 2015 the CAN! Bayview Watershed Project began partnering with the Northridge Cooperative Community Garden (NCCG) to recruit neighbors to participate in sidewalk garden development in the Bayview.

Hiring NCCG youth interns to promote the CAN! Bayview Watershed Project was integral part of the success of the program, providing youth with educational opportunities and green jobs to better their community and the local environment.   The NCCG youth interns recruited 43 residential participants to participate in the CAN! Bayview Watershed Project in 2015-2016.

Now, along 8 blocks in the Bayvew, daisies, sages and other drought-tolerant plants line the sidewalk instead of cement and asphalt.

Participating Streets in the CAN! Bayview Watershed Project include:
Hudson Avenue, Jerrold Avenue, Mendell Avenue, Innes Avenue, Pomona Street, Latona Street, Bayview Street (encompassing both Islais Creek and Yosemite watersheds).

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