WestEd Partners with Students on Eco-Friendly Landscaping Project

Community gardening

WestEd recently teamed up with students from Gahr High School in Cerritos, CA, to create a more environmentally friendly landscape for the grounds outside our agency’s Los Alamitos office.

Under the guidance of WestEd Building and Grounds Technician Chris Maestas, the students planted a range of drought-tolerant and native-California plants. The high schoolers took time out of their spring break to volunteer for the project, receiving class credit in their AP biology and AP environmental sciences classes.

“This project was a great way to engage local students in hands-on science learning,” says Jonathan Mills, WestEd’s Director of Facilities. “It also helped one of our agency’s largest offices continue to develop a more sustainable, drought-tolerant landscape that will use a lot less water over the coming years.”

Maestas coordinated the two-day project with Eloise Tavares, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, which also has an office in the Los Alamitos building.

With many of the students new to planting — some using a shovel for the first time — Maestas prepped the students each morning on proper use of the tools and basic safety guidelines. Tavares shared additional knowledge with them, including details on the sustainable types of plants they were sowing and facts about invasive plant species in California.

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