February 23, 2017

February 2017 Featured School: Nathaniel Narbonne High School

Lowe’s volunteers and students building a raised bed.
Lowe’s volunteers and students building a raised bed.  © Devan King for TNC

Welcome to the first feature story of 2017 for the Nature Works Everywhere program!

In this edition, we’re excited to highlight Nathaniel Narbonne High School. Located in Harbor City, California, Narbonne High School was awarded their first Nature Works Everywhere grant in 2016, and because of the great work they are accomplishing, they have been selected for another grant in 2017.

Their previous grant went toward creating five distinct areas in their garden space: a pollinator garden, a xeriscape garden, a food garden, a native plant garden, and a pond area. Within each of the five areas, they practiced organic gardening. They also developed and maintained a compost area.

In October 2016, 60 students from Narbonne High School teamed up with volunteers from the local community, nearly 50 Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers, staff from The Nature Conservancy and the California-based nonprofit Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants to install a native habitat garden at the school. During the build, students learned from environmental professionals about how building a garden using drought-tolerant plants native to California uses up to 80 percent less water than conventional non-native gardens, and supports biodiversity by providing important habitat for wildlife like birds, insects, and pollinators such as butterflies and bees.

The students and volunteers worked hard, planting over 200 drought-tolerant plants native to California, and made other improvements to the school’s large garden space, including installing a pond, mulching and weeding to ensure that the new native habitat garden would thrive. A story about the work day was shared district-wide on the Los Angeles Unified School District's blog.

Tina Perry, Narbonne High School’s Horticulture Teacher, teaches all 60 students involved with the garden project. She is the lead teacher for the project and she brings her students out to the garden for environmental science lessons and maintenance on a regular basis.

Tina has been thoroughly pleased with the impact this project has had on the school and community. “Narbonne High School prides itself on interactive learning. With this garden, we’ve created a living green classroom to provide our students an enriching and beautiful outdoor space to learn in and enjoy. The garden provides students a natural environment to experience hands-on science as well as engage in many other learning concepts for their other courses,” shared Tina.

A large garden with various features such as a xeriscape area, pollinator area, food area, and pond requires a significant amount of upkeep. We are pleased to provide continued support for the garden project at Narbonne with a Nature Works Everywhere grant in 2017. This year, Tina and students will enhance and maintain the newly established features of the garden. They also plan to add a rain garden and will add more drought-tolerant plants to established areas.

If you would like to connect with any of the 2016-17 Nature Works Everywhere grantees to get involved with their projects, please contact Program Coordinator Jerome Cunningham at jerome.cunningham@tnc.org.