Garden Project Certifications


The Incredible Water Journey

Thanks to the special annual workshop provided by the UC HAREC (University of California Hansen Agricultural Research and Extension Center), our 5th grade students experienced an incredible journey where they examined beyond the four stages of the water cycle and got a first-hand look at the many paths of a water molecule.  It was an unique approach to learn about water as a precious natural resource, as well as personal and environmental behaviors that protect water quality and help water conservation.  Here are some thoughts from our children:

Darmal Tarazi:  We learned that even though there are a lot of water in the world…most of it is not accessible…that gives us only a small amount of water that we can actually drink…

Hanna Kim: 71% of the Earth is water, 3% of that is fresh water, and only 0.5% of that is drinkable – so please conserve that water!

Jake Liu: I liked the water cycle bead game where we rolled a dice and went to the place we rolled.  We collect a bead at every stop to record our journey as a water drop.  My dice usually went and stayed at the cloud.  That would be accurate in real life.

Madison Dodd: I learned that water does not stay on a farm. Water in clouds does not stay for long because it falls down as rain.  Water in glaciers can stay for years in one glacier.

Ella Busch: It was cool to see and learn how every water molecule has a different path.

Nicole Cui: I really enjoyed the water cycle workshop.  I thought the bead game was very clever and I learned many things.  It was fun and taught everyone where water goes, how to conserve it, and why we shouldn’t waster water.

5th Grade Garden Awards

By Marivic Marko, Garden Service Awards Manager

Congratulations to the following 5th grade students who have earned their Garden Community Service awards in the month of May.  We are proud of their hard work and contribution to the Garden!

5 hour Garden Friend Award

Alex Li

London Burke

Maddie Kaitanjian

Mia Maher

Garriella Mortillaro

15 hour Garden Family Award

Nathan Marko



Planting with Builders Club

By Nicholas Marko, Builders Club member

On May 16, Builders Club members assisted in the planting of 100 native plants at Sycamore Canyon School as a part of the school Garden’s participation in the US Fish and Wildlife (USFW) School Yard Habitat Program.

Under the guidance of USFW biologists, Builders Club advisors, and parent volunteers, we split into three groups.  We planted in the middle school planters, the school Garden’s Science and Habitat Learning Center, and the school Garden’s hillside Native Landscape Observatory.

We partnered up in small teams of two to three students within our group.  Each team took native plants brought by the USFW biologists and used appropriate tools to plant them. I planted three native plants in the Native Landscape Observatory with my friend. It is a good idea to reintroduce native vegetation to our surrounding so they can help restore our natural habitat, and benefit our local as well as migratory wildlife.

The task was not easy, but when we were finished, I felt good about what we had done. I learned how to plant native plants and help care for our environment. We had all helped nature that day, and I feel it will contribute to a greener future.

Its a Wrap! 2nd Grade Rounded Up Adopt the Garden in May!

By Marivic Marko, Adopt the Garden Coordinator

We end the Adopt the Garden program year with the fantastic second graders!  Since this was the last group in the garden until next school year, we took extra care to be sure we left the garden well maintained before summer.

Knowing they were the last ones to be caring for the garden, they worked extra hard to pull out as many weeds as they could.  In addition to our regular maintenance tasks of raking and weeding, second graders also helped tidy up the Edible Lab planters.

Thank you to these hard working second graders who did a wonderful job in the garden!

Mrs. Guevara’s class and Parent Volunteer, Debbie Shin
Mrs. Barley’s class and Parent Volunteer, Michelle Czubek
Mrs. Taillon’s class and Parent Volunteer, Joanne Ratshin
Mrs. Huber’s class and Parent Volunteers, Casey Evans and Maria Paz Varas
Mrs. Anthony and Mrs. Carr’s class and Parent Volunteer, Sonceriae Armstrong
Mrs. Berman’s class

Looking forward to seeing these experienced second graders next year!

Ooh laah laah! Culture at the Garden – France

Article by Elliana Tenenbaum, 5th grade Garden Event Reporter

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, Sycamore Canyon Elementary School students rotated through the school garden to learn about France and its culture.  They were taking part in a special event called Culture at the Garden, a program that happens four times a year in the Sycamore Canyon School Garden where parent volunteers and kids celebrate and learn about a particular culture from families within our own school.

This month, kids from Kindergarten through middle school gathered to learn about France.  Booths were set up to teach kids about the culture, art, language, history, and
food of France.

At one booth, kids sampled croissants and French radishes, exposing
their taste buds to some French flavors.   Most kids agreed that the croissant was “magnifique!”  Many took that experience a step further and learned how to make their own croissant by using play dough to practice the rolling method to create the crescent shape.

There was a Mystery Smell booth that required student to use only their sense of smell to determine some of the common French items, which included stinky cheese, perfume, lavender, and Herbes de Provence.

There was a Word Match game booth where students learned vocabularies in French.

At another booth, kids played a trivia game to test their knowledge of the country.

A little further in the garden, kids played three French games. The first game, called Jeu De Billes, is a marble game played around a hole dug in the ground. Players stand behind a line and try to flick marbles into the hole using only their thumbs. Jeu De Petanque resembles lawn bowling, where a small white ball is thrown first, and then each player tosses two balls each as close as possible to the white ball. The person whose ball is the nearest to the white ball wins.  The third French game was La Marelle.  La Marelle is Hopscotch, and it’s played the same way in France as it is in America. All three games were a big hit with Sycamore students!

Just beyond these three games, Sycamore students had a hands-on experience building towers out of building blocks. Many students tried to recreate the Eiffel Tower, France’s most famous landmark.

Mrs. Palomino brought her wonderful award winning choir group to the Garden to share with the students a beautiful song in both English and French about a windmill.  It was quite a treat for all the audiences to hear this beautiful song sung a capella style, and this also showcased the many musical talents we have right here in Sycamore Canyon.

All around the garden, kids of all ages remarked about how much fun they had as they learned more about France. Culture at the Garden is an event that highlights a different culture each time, and each event exposes students to many aspects of life and traditions of one country.  This program has become an event that students look forward to, and this month’s France celebration had the whole school saying “Ooh laah laah!”

Special thanks to our fabulous volunteers who made this event possible:

  • Cultural Advisor:  Johanna Duc
  • Planning Committee: Johanna Duc, Alexandrine Lagrave, Subha Tholudur
  • Event Volunteers: Johanna Duc, Alexandrine Lagrave, Carolyn Duc, Subha Tholudur, Imelda Fuentes, Archana Timmaraju, Marivic Marko, Becky Lewus, Jen & Charlie Lunney, Marie Turner, Eszter Zubovics, Puja Kaushik, Athena Fischer, Maria Paz Varas, Carmina Bech, Sonceriae Armstrong, Yali Chen, Melissa George, Stacy Gleason, Anette Power.

Photos by:  Stacy Gleason

Conor O’Sullivan Completes Eagle Scout Service Project at SCS Garden

By John Malouf, SCS Garden Project Scout Coordinator.  Edited by Roslyn Stewart.

Battling  wind, rain, and hail, Eagle Scout candidate Conor O’Sullivan of Boy Scout Troop 754 completed his Eagle Scout service project at the Sycamore Canyon School Garden on the stormy weekend of May 6th.

Conor’s service project was to design and build 12 new redwood benches for the SCS Garden to be used by students during Garden events such as outdoor teaching and cultural events. Also, the project included the refinishing of all the Garden’s existing woodwork including picnic tables, signposts, and the bridge that were constructed as previous Eagle Scout projects.

His project cumulated with a total 270 labor hours that were spent planning, designing, constructing, and refinishing.   Volunteers, who were led by Conor, were Scouts from Troop 754, scout parent volunteers, and friends and family.

Conor was recognized at the SCS Volunteer Tea on May 19th.  He was awarded with a Garden Service certificate and a plaque.  The plaque was mounted on one of the benches that he built, as an appreciation and recognition for his service to the SCS Garden.

Volunteer Tea 2017

By Marivic Marko, Garden Service Awards Manager

2017 has been an incredible year for the garden! Garden programs, such as Culture of the Garden, the Manna Project, Community Gardening Days, and Adopt the Garden sessions, could not be possible without the help and support of parent and community volunteers. We are grateful for all who have come out to the garden to lend a hand, whether it was for 30 minutes or 30 hours! It all would not be possible without you.

The Garden Committee would like to recognize the following volunteers who have contributed 5 or more hours of service to the garden this year. Garden community service awards are received for 5,15, 30, 50 and 100 hours of service. This is a special year, because there is a recipient in every category.

Garden Friend – 5 hours

Alexandrine Lagrave ♦ Archana Timmaraju ♦ Arlett Torres ♦ Athena Fischer ♦ Cindy Panza ♦ Crystal Stenner ♦ Himangi Jayakar ♦ Imelda Fuentes ♦ Johanna Duc ♦ Puja Kaushik ♦ Ranjini Ramachander ♦ Rebecca Konopka ♦ Ricky Bordagaray ♦ Stacy Gleason ♦ Tina Mintz ♦ Yali Chen

Garden Family – 15 hours

Alexandrine Lagrave ♦ Andrea Feagan ♦ Eszter Zubovics ♦ Johanna Duc ♦ John Malouf ♦ Maria Paz Varas ♦Sonceriae Armstrong ♦Tina Mintz

Garden Guardian – 30 hour

Marie Turner ♦ Samatha Gummadi

Garden Leader – 50 hours

Marie Turner ♦ Subha Tholudur

Garden Hero – 100 hours

Subha Tholudur