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Pasadena Audubon Society Transforms Courtyard into Outdoor Wildlife Classroom for Washington STEM Elementary Magnet School

Published on Friday, November 1, 2019 | 5:03 pm

Pasadena Audubon Society (PAS) is proud to unveil the new native plant and pollinator garden at Washington STEM Elementary Magnet (WSEM) on November 16, 2019. During the Planting Day Celebration, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., students, teachers and volunteers will be putting the plants in the ground while enjoying refreshments, and celebrating the hard work that PAS, the school community and other community organizations have put into this garden.

The garden will provide students with outdoor learning opportunities and provide a habitat for native species of birds, bees, butterflies—and more! “We’ve been trying to bring an outdoor schoolyard program to fruition for more than eight years and it’s wonderful to see it becoming a reality, with even more opportunities for kids to learn,” said Jodie West, a STEM specialist at WSEM.

PAS took on creating a garden for WSEM as an extension of the innovative Bird Science Program, founded by PAS in Spring of 2018 with the goal of getting students excited about the environment, conservation, and bird watching. A native plant and pollinator garden brings to life the lessons of the Bird Science Program for the students at WSEM with features intended to recreate local ecosystems. The garden features California-native plants that attract birds and pollinators, an outdoor classroom space for exploration, and a rainwater garden with bioswales, which will slow the flow of rain through the space and allow for it to drain naturally into the earth.

Many organizations and individual volunteers have been involved, making this garden a community project. Volunteers from Pasadena Audubon, Pasadena Education Foundation, California Native Plant Society—San Gabriel Mountains Chapter, Pasadena Water and Power, LA Works, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy, the Pasadena Job Center and other community partners have contributed over 500 hours to the project. Additionally, Pasadena Water and Power is donating informational signage about garden features, as well as installing new water-smart irrigation. A National Audubon’s Plants for Birds Burke Grant provided initial funding. The goal of the Planting Day Celebration is to acknowledge all the hard work the many hands have contributed to building a native plant and pollinator garden for Washington STEM Elementary Magnet and all the good that has grown from it.

The mission of Pasadena Audubon Society is to bring the excitement of birds to the community through birding, education, and the conservation of bird habitats. PAS is affiliated with the National Audubon Society and is one of the oldest chapters in the country. PAS serves the communities of the San Gabriel Valley and provides field trips, monthly programs, small research grants, adult education programs and an award-winning Young Birders Club. PAS also organizes advocacy efforts on behalf of birds and the environment and hands-on conservation projects, such as clean-ups and habitat restoration projects. PAS welcomes people from all backgrounds and ages to discover the beauty of birds and the joy of exploring the natural world.

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