Garden Project Certifications


2020 Valentine’s Student Concert Ends on Beautiful Notes

Blessed with great weather and enthusiastic audiences, our young performers showcased their musical talents at our 2nd annual music concert in the Garden.

Love, music, flower, and free popcorn – this event brought unbeatable charm to our Garden for the students to enjoy a memorable Valentine lunch recess at school.  Thank you to Mr. Palomino and all of our wonderful, fabulous parent volunteers for making this event possible!

Event Photographer: Carolyn Malouf.   Event Decoration Design:  Imelda Bailey

Valentine 2020

4th Grade Adopt the Garden – Last class for January 2020

By: Saifon (Jeep) Wells, Adopt the Garden Lead – 4th & 5th Grade

Our 4th Grade Adopt A Garden ended with Mrs. Abraham’s class on Monday the 27th.  The weather was perfect.

9:30 AM: Parent volunteer Kathryn Rocha arrived to continue with the design for the bases of the Recycled Bottel Caps art sculptures.  Kathryn’s creativity and energy were amazing,  She laid out the groundwork for students to follow, making the process efficient and appropriate for the limited 30 minutes Adopt the Garden session.  Our second volunteer, parent Leanne Norman, arrived shortly after with her usual beautiful smile as we reviewed the plans for the session.

10:00 AM: Mrs. Abraham’s class arrived.  After a brief review of a few safety rules, the kids went to work.  I thought most of the kids would love to work on making the bases for the art sculptures, but much to my surprise when I asked for volunteers to work on weeding, raking and picking up excess leaves 🍁, a handful of students very enthusiastically volunteered to help me with those tasks.

10:30 AM:  The session was so much fun and filled with positivity.  The results were amazing. The garden was clean, organized and ready for February activities.  👏


4th Grade Adopt the Garden mid-month Report!

By: Saifon (Jeep) Wells, Adopt the Garden Lead – 4th & 5th Grade

I wanted to give an overview of the first two sessions for 4th Grade Adopt a Garden last week.

We started the month after a long holiday breaks with Mrs. Murray’s class on Friday, Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 11.48.11 PMJanuary 17th in the morning.  Our two lovely parent volunteers: Leanne Norman and Anna Hilt, arrived the garden with such positive and ready to go energy!  Once the class arrived, we briefly went over our safety rules.  Mrs. Murray helped group the students into three different teams. The students demonstrated such great Coyote spirits against the cold weather and wet condition from the rain the night before.  They willingly followed our parent leads, with the first team covering the entrance to the middle of the garden and second-team covering the middle of the garden.  The two teams’ main focus was to rake and pick up the leaves and trash in their assigned area. The third team focused on weeding the new weeds that popped up around the shed, bridge and alongside the flower beds in the back of the garden.  20 minutes went by fast.  We ended the session with 7 bags filled with leaves and trashes, and of course, a lot of very happy faces that expressed how proud each of the kids is with their accomplishments in the garden that morning!

The same day, in the afternoon we welcomed Mrs. Bolcik’s class.  Alongside the students, we Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 11.51.59 PMalso have three creative and hard-working parent volunteers taking on the role of garden leads. The afternoon class worked on laying out the creative touch to help highlight the Garden Art sculptures that our Girls Scout have done and placed throughout the Garden. It was amazing to see how excited the kids were to be able to use their imagination and creativity to beautify their school Garden.  Besides our creative art team, the second team of students focused around the stage to dust, wipe off excess dirt and leaves and re-arrange benches to get the Compass Performance Stage area ready for the Garden Sketch lunchtime enrichment program the following week. They also took on the big job of transporting the 7 large bags that filled with Screen Shot 2020-01-20 at 11.48.33 PMleaves from the morning session to the big trash bin.  I am so proud of this group that was led by parent volunteer Ms. Usher.  Her team was very enthusiastic and carry out the task with pride.

All the efforts that our parent volunteers, students, and teachers have put in from both sessions helped us wrap-up this week at the Garden with a very positive note and a sense of accomplishment!  Thank you, everyone!!

Max Li Completes Eagle Project With Mobile Signages & Art Installation

Max LiCongratulations to SCS alumni, 17-year-old Max Li of Boy Scout Troop 730 for completing his Eagle Project with the Garden!

Max and his team built FOUR MOBILE SIGNAGES for the Garden’s outdoor classrooms. Each signage is equipped with a magnetic whiteboard on top and a storage box at the bottom. The signs will be used by teachers as it makes teaching in the garden more max signageflexible and convenient.

To fund his project, Max applied for the Thousand Oaks City Enhancement Grant and was awarded $3,990. He also got a donation of $365 from Anthem. He spent a total of 123 hours in planning and preparing the funds for the project. Max and his recruited team of volunteers spent a total of 237.7 hours completing the project over a four-day span. The first two days were spent painting the redwood to match the garden while the last two days were spent in the garden constructing the signage.

The signage project cost $2,354.79 in total. The remainder of the grant money was used to fund a nine feet tall art instalation: “Take Only Memories, Leave Only Footprints” totem, commissioned by a local artist for $1935. 

These new signages will help elevate our outdoor learning experience to the next level for the students and the community we serve for years to come. We applaud Max for his accomplishment, making a meaningful contribution to the community, and achieving the highest scout honor of Eagle.

Max Eagle Collage

Framing the Garden for the Season

The month of December brought rain and a change of atmosphere, trading in the usually sunny weather with one of chill winds and dark skies.  The Garden is undergoing its own seasonal transformation, as plants and visiting wildlife morph and ready themselves for the coming of winter.

Coinciding with this change, Garden Sketch for the month of December focuses on learning the use of a viewfinder to frame and sketch the perspective image in observation.  A viewfinder is a simple frame device that allows students to isolate or “crop” a scene within a rectangular area and can be adjusted to find the most dramatic and engaging composition for our young budding artists.  It is a process of translating the 3-D world into 2-D sketches and gives its user a quick assessment with dozens of options to choose from.

As the students become aware of the changes around nature through their Garden space, learning the use of a viewfinder helps the students select, frame and sketch the perspective images they are observing.  It is a valuable skill – one that not only combines art with science but also encourages in-depth examinations for all things in plain sight.




Meet the Pack! Ambassador Puppies Bring New Understanding to Visual Impairment Awareness

This is Part II of our two parts Awareness Series in Vision Impairment. (Click here to see Part I of the Awareness Series in Vision Impairment: Obstacle Course Challenge)

puppySycamore Canyon students received a long-anticipated visit by some very special guests on Wednesday, November 13th.

Seven beautiful puppies (four Labrador Retrievers, two Golden Retrievers, and a German Shepherd) in training from Guide Dogs of America (GDA), under the supervision of their committed and diligent foster parents (puppy raising volunteers), arrived in the most adorable procession of legs and wagging tails.  Flanked them at all sides while they marched toward the Garden was a ginormous gaggle of uber thrilled school children who had a hard time containing their excitement of seeing doggies on the school campus.  Talk about a fan base!

Lead presenter Diana Janke educated our children about guide dogs and the important roles that these service animals play in providing security and independence to those who suffer from vision impairment.  The children were first guided through an exercise where they simulated various types of vision impairment using their hands.  The activities helped children gained insights into the conditions of various vision impairment and how those conditions may “look” like through their own eyes.  The etiquettes GDA puparound guide dogs were then discussed, followed by an introduction of what it takes to raise and train a guide dog from lovable puppies to invaluable service companions.  Usage of types of service equipment, such as a guide dog harness, was demonstrated with the actual equipment passed around for the children to touch and feel.

The presentation was thorough and serious, but some time was also saved in the end for lots of petting, cuddling, getting to know one another, and of course – photos.  The children used this opportunity to practice the good etiquettes they’ve learned earlier – asking for permission from the owner to approach the dog and approach the dog in a calm and gentle manner.  Those are good things for the children to know and put into use not just around a guide dog but any dogs in general.

This was a fantastic and positive way to introduce and educate our children toward awareness and understanding of those with special needs.  Our sincere thanks to Guide Dogs of America and their fabulous volunteers for this special presentation at our Garden.

The Garden Committee would also like to acknowledge SCS parent volunteers Maria Prescott, Judy Caples, and Eszter Zubovics for their assistance at the presentation.

guide dog 2019