Garden Project Certifications


Garden Wreath Showcase!

We have a winner for the Garden Wreath Showcase!

11 wreaths made by Ms. Cruz’s middle school career elective students were on display. A total of 289 elementary students participated in the voting process.

Congratulations to Gracie Horning, Gabi Forkosh, Preksha Maddula, and Karen Kawashima. The team created wreath #9, which clinched the title of Fan Favorite after receiving 32% of the total votes casted by participating elementary school kids during their lunch recess on Thursday, 11/10.

Thank you to our very best parent volunteers Chriss Lyons, Clare Scalzo, Melissa Mulhall, Mignonne Nieva, and Polina Pleshkova for their assistance on the voting process to help make this event a success! We love our volunteers!

Halloween Special!

No tricks, all treats! Spooky Cartoon Workshop at the Garden during lunch recess for Elementary kids on Halloween, presented by local artist Dave Boatman.

Big THANK YOU to our “spooktacular” parent volunteer team: Amanda Boulton, Maea Benton, Katharine Blanchard, Clare Scalzo, Yan Xi and Michelle Deruso!

Ms. Cruz’s Students Making Grapevine Wreaths

The grapevines harvested by scout Jack Younes and his troop were picked up by Ms. Cruz and her middle school Careers Electives students to be upcycled!

Upcycled: The act of taking something no longer in use and giving it a second life and new function.

Instead of throwing the excess grapevines grown in our Edible Lab into the trash or compost, Ms. Cruz’s students are turning these raw materials into decorative wreaths.

The students are learning how to make a natural grapevine wreath from scratch, starting with forming these vines into circular coils.

The newly formed wreaths are currently drying. They will be decorated starting at the end of the week.

Stay tuned for the finished products!!

Scouts Assisting in Vine Harvest

Jack Younes, SCS Alumnus and Eagle Scout candidate, led his team of 17 scouts this past Sunday morning to help the Garden perform our annual native grape vines harvest in the Edible Lab.

The vines collected will be utilized as part of an art project for the middle school students in Ms. Cruz’s class – the vines will be up-cycled into holiday wreaths.

For his Eagle Scout project, Jack will be building a large T-shaped table that will serve both as an instructor’s table and students’ workbench for the Edible Lab. The installation will improve facilitation of lessons for an entire classroom. Jack will also be paving the area where the table will reside to provide for smooth footing which will greatly enhance safety and comfort for our students.

Special THANK YOU to our Garden Volunteer Mrs. Dutta for guiding this vine harvesting effort.

Yoga Time in the Autumn Weather

Our Garden gets the best volunteers. 💖 Thank you to our fabulous moms for another fantastic Mindful Monday Yoga for the elementary school kids!!

October Theme: Harvest of Gratitude. Letting go of negative feelings and welcoming in new and positive ones.

Instructor: Jen Lunney

Team Yoga Mamas: Maea Benton, Liz Little, Jen Noonan, Wendy Prindle

Photos provided by Wendy Prindle

First Annual Book Fest in the Garden

By: Ericka Norman, Sycamore Canyon Middle School Junior Reporter

On June 8th, the Sycamore Canyon School PTSA held their first annual Book Fest in the garden. This event was similar to a book exchange and was a replacement for the Spring Book Fair. Sycamore families were asked to donate gently used, unwanted books so students could have the opportunity to read books over the summer.

There were many unique elements in this event, which made it truly special. To begin, the name “Book Fest” was created to sound entertaining in order to motivate kids to attend. The event name gave the impression of a ceremony, or festival. Also, book bags were provided for everyone, so students could carry as many books as they wanted, each with a stunning logo included. The designer of the book bags made the logo a circle to represent wholeness and added a whimsical factor to make it resemble a coffee mug stain. Additionally, beautiful custom-made bookmarks were given to the students as they entered the garden. The purpose of the bookmarks was not only to encourage children to read, but to remind students of local libraries and other resources for reading. Better yet, students could relate to
the bookmarks because some of their exquisite artwork was presented on them. The handy bookmarks helped emphasize the theme, “Reading will Open Doors to the Universe.”

To add, the event was incredibly organized. Each grade level took turns picking their books at lunch recess. Books were sorted by grade level and genre so students could find what they wanted more easily. Volunteers did a magnificent job displaying the books which sparked the students’ imaginations. The kids were curious and surprised because they didn’t know what to expect and were mostly excited about the idea of free shopping! There were approximately 1,600 books donated and surprisingly, there were no more than 10 books remaining at the end. This proves the success of this new event!

One thing to note, the kids at Sycamore Canyon School have extremely high reading levels and the higher grades had trouble finding books at their level. Next year, the PTSA is going to get middle school books donated, so everyone can have the opportunity to find books at their reading level.

All in all, the goal of this event was to get kids excited about reading books in the summer, which was no doubt accomplished. This event would not have taken place if it wasn’t for the continued support and dedication of Sycamore families, PTSA, school staff, and volunteers. As a result, this is what makes Sycamore Canyon School an exceptional environment for students.

Editor’s Note:

Last but not least, a big THANK YOU to our parent volunteers:

  • Book Fest Planning Committee: Melissa Mulhall (event chair), Leanne Norman, Jo Louie
  • Volunteers: Alia Matthews,Betty Kuang, Charlie Geist, Debbie Margolis, Jen Lunney, Mackenzie Smith, Maea Benton, Namrata Dutta, Paola Paris, Victoria Stephen

Photos by: Jo Louie & Jen Lunney

July 2022 Free Native Narrowleaf Milkweed Plants for the Community!!

The Ventura County Agricultural/Weights & Measures department has partnered with the Santa Monica Mountain Fund to provide thousands of Native Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) plants to our community at no cost! Check out the event details in the graphic.

The sale of Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) is no longer allowed in any nursery or retail center in Ventura County due to its recent reclassification as a B-rated noxious weed. Homeowners are encouraged to remove tropical milkweed from their gardens.

For more information visit or call our Agricultural/Weights & Measures Office at 805-933-2926.

Ventura County- Agriculture/Weights & Measures

Santa Monica Mountains Fund

Condado de Ventura-Español